Winifred S. Alley died peacefully on Friday, January 1, 2021 surrounded by members of her loving family.
Winifred was born in 1926 in Birmingham, Alabama, the second of four children born to Paul E. and Winifred R. Smith. Although she grew up during the Depression, her family always had enough food to eat thanks to her grandparents’ farm in South Alabama that produced abundant meat, milk, and vegetables.
Winifred was educated in Birmingham public schools and later attended Montevallo College in Montevallo, Alabama, where she received her B.S. in Education. Although she never would have described herself as a feminist, her bold and independent actions challenged stereotypes of how women of that time were supposed to behave. Case in point: After graduation from college she decided to travel cross-country alone finding various jobs along the way. One of those jobs was at a military base in Los Alamos, New Mexico, where she stacked and sorted computer punch cards that were part of the covert Project Manhattan. She was oblivious to the information contained on those cards, but she was very much aware of the attention from the many handsome soldiers who asked her out on dates every night of the week.
Winifred returned to the South and took a teaching job in Dalton, Georgia, where she met another handsome soldier who had just returned from World War II. He had a funny first name and a car and insisted on giving her rides to and from school. The ride-sharing arrangement turned into a courtship, and Winifred married Ogburn Alley in 1951. They were married for 37 years and had one son, David.
Although Winifred taught kindergarten for more than 10 years, she was first and foremost a homemaker, a wife, and a mother. She enjoyed dancing at the Elks Club, boating on the Tennessee River, and reading mystery novels. She did not like to cook so she devised a strict rotation of meals to minimize stress. If you found salmon croquettes, tater tots and green beans on your plate you could be sure it was Thursday.
Winifred was an active member of the Presbyterian Church in Dalton, serving as Sunday school teacher and Bible study leader. In the 1980’s she was elected as one of the first female Elders in the Presbyterian Church. Upon moving to Savannah in 2008 she faithfully attended all Sunday and Wednesday night services, and enjoyed going out to eat with many new friends. She joked that she could escape cooking two or three days a week because Presbyterians loved to break bread together.
With the untimely death of her husband in 1988, Winifred began a twenty year adventure of international travel. She filled every page of eight passports with stamps from countries exotic and familiar. She visited six of the seven continents, only missing Antarctica because she didn’t like the cold. She sometimes traveled with her two sisters, but mostly alone on tours arranged by her dedicated travel agent. She could not pass up a good deal. Once in the early 1990’s after a terrorist bombing of an airline she heard of a package deal to Paris which included the flight and hotel stay for five days for less than $500. Without a moment’s hesitation off she went.
Whether paddling down the Amazon or spending the night in a yurt in the Mongolian desert, Winifred’s heart was never far from home. She loved her parents, her sisters, her son, her daughter-in-law, and her four grandchildren. She much preferred talking about their lives and accomplishments to talking about her own. She was a practical, plain-spoken, and humble person who suffered no fools, but was kind to everyone.
A private memorial service in her honor will take place on Saturday, January 9. In lieu of flowers or other gifts, the family asks for donations to the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund https://curealz.org/ or the Holly Alley scholarship fund through the Georgia Nutrition Council https://site.extension.uga.edu/gnc/.
Winnie Alley was a class act all the way. As Sunny’s friend, our daughter enjoyed many adventures with this cool grandmother (I remember a trip to the Mall of America?) I admired her greatly for her spirit, her kindness and her energy. I know she will be missed and you all have our deepest sympathy. —Susan and John Humma
- Susan Humma, Statesboro, GA
I loved Winnie! She taught my daughter, Kris, in kindergarten and she and I both served as elders for First Presbyterian Church Dalton as well as co- chairs of Presbyterian Women. We accomplished a lot and had fun doing it.
- Annelle Hogshead Scott, Dalton, Georgia
Services under the direction of:
Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors, Hodgson Chapel
- A Private Service Will Be Held