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Steven Winter remembered for passion-filled life
He screams from the side- lines as his daughter makes the winning goal from mid- field in a soccer game. He shows up on his best friend’s doorstep when the friend feels in a rut and drags them out to lift his spirits. His friends would jump at the chance to drive across the country with him, his two dogs and a trunk full of cardboard boxes just to help him move. This is the person those closest to Steven Winter will remember him as. A fiercely loyal and dedicated father who never missed a chance to go the extra mile for a friend in need.
Steven Winter, Chief of Human Resources (HR) died on Nov. 22, roughly a month after receiving an advanced stage cancer diagnosis.
‘Loyal till the end’
Jason Winter, Steven Winter’s younger brother, said he remembers when Steven Winter helped him through one of the most difficult times in his life. Nearly 20 years ago, Jason Winter said he over- invested in a home, forcing him to live on a tight budget. This left him spending many nights alone in his house in an attempt to save money and get out of his debt. One evening, Steven Winter showed up on his brother’s doorstep and forced Jason Winter to leave with him and a friend. Jason Winter said he met a girl that night, who he now calls his wife of 16 years.
Jason Winter said as they grew up together, Steven Winter would stand up to bullies and protect him.
“He was that person to stand up for me when I couldn’t stand up for myself,” Jason Winter said. “To know that you always had that person who had your back no matter what, he was just that kind of person. Loyal till the end.”
In 2001, Jason Crowe met Steven Winter while working together as attorneys in down- town St. Louis. He said they soon became friends outside of work due to their mutual love of sports and the Cardinals.
After Steven Winter made the transition from law to HR, he accepted a job with GAP in San Francisco. Crowe took a couple weeks off work to drive across the country, down Route 66 and up highway 1 in California, to help Steven Winter move.
“He was one of the few [people] that I knew I could always count on to be there no matter what the circumstance, with no questions asked,” Crowe said. “It was just, ‘if you need me I’ll be there.’ Someday I’ll drive up highway 1 again and every step of the way I’ll think of him.”
Steven Winter is survived by his two children Sofie Winter and Kyle Winter. So- fie Winter is a freshman at the University of Missouri- Columbia, and Kyle Winter is 13-years-old.
“The number one passion he had, if you talk to any- body who knew Steve, in his life was his two kids.” Crowe said. “Everything from their sporting events to just spend- ing time with them and telling stories about them was just something he loved to do.”
Working at Webster
Steven Winter began working as interim Chief of HR at Webster in Jan. 2018. In March, he became Webster’s permanent Chief of HR.
“Even when he was [at Webster] on an interim basis, he was hoping it would turn into something permanent because he felt like it was a place where he could make a difference,” Crowe said. “What’s sad for me is I know how much he enjoyed the job, and I just wish he would have an opportunity to work at it longer.”
Courtney Morris, a close friend of Steven Winter, said he called his position at Web- ster a godsend because of the positive impact he felt he could leave on students and his colleagues, an aspect he had yet to find in previous jobs.
“He thought he had really found his place in the world with Webster,” Morris said.
Steven Winter worked closely with President Elizabeth Stroble and Provost Julian Schuster during his time at Webster. Stroble said the positive impact of Steven Winter’s leadership and the quick manner in which he built trust and confidence among colleagues will be missed.
“He arrived with tremendous career experience as a HR professional, quickly set a strategic plan in motion and collaborated with the HR team and members of our community to seize opportunities and to prepare for future challenges,” Stroble said. “Webster is stronger because of Steve.”
According to HR staff, Steven Winter brought a collaborative approach to his leadership and engaged in relationship building which helped move his initiatives forward. During his time at Webster, he established a stra- tegic plan to move HR from transactional to transformational and oversaw multiple implementation teams for key university initiatives.
He implemented a revised grievance policy and an audit of all personnel files to ensure they meet regulatory requirements.
Cheryl Fritz worked in HR with Steven Winter during his time at Webster. She said he began right away and set a strategic vision for Hu- man Resources (HR) and did a great job collaborating with her, the entire HR team and others in the university to move things forward. She said his optimism and passion to see things change is the reason why he had such an impact in the one year he was here.
“The funny thing about all of it is, of all of his jobs, Webster was actually his favorite,” Jason Winter said. “He really felt like he had a great relationship with the President and Provost and felt he was making some major accomplishments. He also saw that his work had an impact on the students that went [to Webster].”
Webster University is currently working to fill the position of an interim Chief of Human Resources according to Fritz.