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Juneau and former Sitka resident Wade Matthew Winger died April 9, 2010, at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Wash. He was 32.
He was born Sept. 14, 1977, in Sitka, to Denise Michele (Winger) Blankenship and William Lee Burkhart, II. He spent a happy childhood in Sitka, surrounded by people who loved him.
He was a very talented athlete who excelled in baseball, basketball, wrestling and most recently ice hockey.
He graduated from Sitka High in 1996. At the time of graduation, he had already completed a year of college by taking courses in the evenings. He received a University of Alaska Scholars Award and attended University of Alaska Fairbanks. He then transferred to Mount Hood Community College, where he earned an associate degree. He went on to earn his bachelor's degree at DeVry University in Phoenix, graduating Magna Cum Laude.
He lived in Sitka until 2006 and then moved to Juneau with his girlfriend, Krista Williams. He worked independently and was a natural entrepreneur working in computer marketing.
"Wade was passionate about everything he did, especially sports, travel and spending time with family and friends," Krista said. "Though taken at such a young age, Wade lived a life filled with love, determination and kindness not seen in the lives of innumerous old men. None would disagree that Wade was driven in every aspect of his life. When he set his mind to something, he could both discipline and motivate himself to defeat the odds and flourish."
"Wade had a big heart that no doubt was nourished by the love and support of his family and those closest to him. What will be treasured most were his smile and subtle sense of humor, his persistent willingness to stay up all hours of the night (and morning) spending quality time in slap circles, poker games, late-night swims with his brother and cousins, laughing, and altogether bonding with amazing family and friends."
He was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, Carol and Loren Winger; paternal grandparents, Daisy and Lee Burkhart; and cousins, Tara Venessa Galanin and Gregory Michael William Fleury.
He is survived by his girlfriend, Krista Williams, of Juneau; mother, Denise (Winger) Blankenship; father, William Burkhart II; stepfather, John Blankenship; stepmother, Erin Burkhart; brothers, Gregory Blankenship and Lee Burkhart; sister, Haley Burkhart, all of Sitka; aunts, Tamara O'Neill, Lauren Estes, Retha Winger, Christine Zimin, Margaret Galanin, Roxanne Drake, and Myra Galanin; uncles, David Galanin, Ted Burkhart, Gary Winger, Kenny Winger, Joey Winger, Patrick O'Neill and Chaz Estes; cousins, Jerrod, Nicholas, Brandon, Natalie, Audrey, Nova, Scarlet and Elliott Galanin, Alex and Allison Winger, Michele and Andrea Winger, Leilani Hamilton and Evangelina Estes, Zack and Stephanie Burkhart, Melissa and Drew Mochak, Michelle Cox, Daisy and Jeremiah Peterson; nephew and niece, Keaton and Penelope Blankenship and their mother, Sunni Keith.
A celebration of life will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, May 15, at Pat's Douglas Inn (aka Louies in Douglas).