To those who knew her, the name Ella Wintler conjures up a picture of a fiesty little lady of pioneer stock who enjoyed a good fight with her Democratic opponents in Olympia.
Between 1938 and 1964, Wintler represented Clark County with 10 two-year terms in the state House of Representatives, more than any other legislator at that time. She finally was defeated in the Democratic landslide of 1964 in her last political race.
Wintler was born Aug. 10, 1885, in a house at Tenth and Esther in Vancouver. She was a memeber of a large family, with one half-sister, four half-brothers and three full brothers.
Her father was John Jacob Wintler who had immigrated from Switzerland. Her mother, Sarah Butler Wintler, had driven a span of mules from Carthage, Mo., to Vancouver in 1878.
Wintler attended Central and Columbian schools and was among the 12 graduates of Vancouver High School in 1903. She taught at Lake Shore School from 1903 to 1906, teaching eight grades in one room. This was followed by teaching assignments at Charter Oak and Rock Creek schools.
Wintler then attended the University of Washington, graduating in 1910. She taught German at Mount Vernon until 1916, then returned home to Vancouver High School where she taught German, English and social studies until her retirement in 1950.
Wintler’s political career began with her election to the state House of Representatives in 1938. A staunch Republican, she endured a cycle of wins and losses. “I used to lose when President Roosevelt was re-elected, then win in the off years,” she explained. Her final loss, she noted, was because of the voters’ “personal prejudice against Barry Goldwater,” who was trounced by Lyndon Johnson in 1964.
Wintler died April 17, 1975, at age 89.