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Sally J. Winter

Sally Winter remembers the day she was hired. “It was September 6th, 1983. Lynn interviewed me on the 6th, a Sunday, because the entire crew was leaving for an installation in Manhattan, Kansas, the very next day. The office was torn up for remodeling, so I worked at a desk in the shop. Lynn gave me some pipe orders to type, which looked like Greek to me. I was completely confused, had no one to ask, and wondered what I had gotten myself into.” Fortunately, not only did she survive this early chaos, but she thrived, and the company with her.

Sally arrived at a pivotal moment in the company’s history. Our previous secretary, Karen Gaddis, left when her husband accepted a job in the Des Moines area. Coincidentally, Sally inquired with Lynn about a job only a few days later. At the time of her interview, the shop employed just eight, but was starting to attract national attention, having just signed a contract for an organ in Burlington, North Carolina, the firm’s first project outside of the Midwest. Two decades later, the company has almost twenty employees and is undertaking a greatly expanded variety of projects, including several instruments that dwarf the earlier ones.

Coordinating the various administrative aspects of a shop our size requires a significant amount of work. As the company has grown, so has Sally’s job description. In addition to the secretarial duties she has had from the beginning of her tenure, she now makes all of the company travel arrangements, assists Business Manager Kirk Russell with the accounting, handles the mailing and shipping, gives tours, and handles the countless other things that no one thinks about but which everyone expects to be done.

A lifelong resident of Lake City, Sally is the youngest of Tom and Audrey Williams’ three children. Her mother, a choir director and music teacher active in the Iowa Choral Directors Association, instilled a love of music at an early age. She sang her first solo in church at age four. In high school, she was a member of the All-State Chorus, and learned to play the guitar and alto saxophone. She remains an active member of the Lake City Union Church, singing soprano in the choir and playing handbells, and is frequently called upon as a soloist for weddings and funerals.

Sally is married to another Lake City native, Daryl Winter, who is employed by an area agricultural cooperative. They have three grown children, Stacey, Leslie and Andrew, all of whom live in Iowa. Several years ago Sally and Daryl renovated an historic, century-old house in Lake City, complete with a large yard and extensive gardens of flowers, vegetables and herbs. More than one fortunate visitor has witnessed owls perching on the garden fence on a summer’s evening.

Sally is active in the Lake City community. She is involved in Entré Nous, a local music club, and the local chapter of the P.E.O. Sisterhood, an international philanthropic educational organization that owns Cottey College, a two-year women's college in Nevada, Missouri. She is also active in AFS, the international student exchange organization.

“My kids were in school and I was looking for something worthwhile to do with my time,” Sally says. “Lynn took a chance on me. I had no secretarial experience and didn’t know anything about organ building.” She does now. With Dobson crews occasionally working on opposite ends of the country, Sally remains the steady hub in the middle of a swirling constellation of activity. She handles the constant demands with grace and good humor, and it’s difficult indeed to imagine how we’d get along without her.

drawn from The Organbuilder, Spring 2002


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Dobson Pipe Organ Builders, Ltd.
200 North Illinois Street • Post Office Box 25
Lake City, Iowa 51449 USA
+1 712 464 8065

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