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Former SWRE employee turns 100 years old


*originally published in 02.2019 SWRE Newsletter


The year is 1947.  Harry S. Truman is president, gas is 15 cents a gallon and the Cold War is just beginning. Electricity is still relatively new to farms in Texhoma, as SWRE has only been an established electric cooperative for ten years.  On April 4thof this year, CEO Clark T. McWhorter hired a very special woman into the billing department at Southwest Rural Electric.

Over the next 34 years, Opal Winkler worked her way around many jobs in the SWRE office.  A few of her previous job titles include: billing clerk, assistant cahier, secretary to billing, cashier and bookkeeper.  You could say that Opal became a key employee at SWRE over three decades of work.

Opal worked under three different CEOs and retired under B.R. Green in 1981. Though she still loved her career and had plenty of energy left in her, a bad car accident led her into retirement.

Mrs. Winkler has spent the majority of her life living and working in Tipton, Oklahoma.  She now resides in Altus, Oklahoma where she receives excellent care and comfort every day. Last month, she reached a huge milestone – turning 100 years old.  Though you can tell by the picture at the bottom right, that she doesn’t nearly begin to look her age!

This very special woman is now SWRE’s oldest living former employee. This title means a lot to Mrs. Winkler – enough so that she invited the current SWRE CEO (Ken Simmons) to her 100thbirthday party in Tipton last month.  We were not surprised to see nearly one hundred attendants celebrating Opal’s milestone.

The loyalty and dedication of Opal Winkler has made a profound difference in the strength of our cooperative.  She has been a formative asset in the building of Southwest Rural Electric’s brand and integrity.  It is employees like her who make the cooperative what it is – the heart of the community.

Thank you, Opal, for 100 amazing years!  Here’s to many more! 


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