President pays tribute to well-known and respected Labrador elder
Nunatsiavut President Sarah Leo today paid tribute to one of Labrador’s most respected elders, Malcolm (Max) Winters, who passed away Thursday at the Labrador Health Centre in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. He was 76.
“Mr. Winters was well known all over Labrador and devoted much of his life to improving the lives of others,” says President Leo. “Max exemplified the true meaning of an elder: wise, understanding, compassionate and always willing to help. On behalf of the Nunatsiavut Government and all Labrador Inuit, I want to extend sincere condolences to Max’s family and his huge circle of friends. While we mourn his passing, we find comfort in having known him.”
Mr. Winters spent much of his live to improving his adopted community of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, particularly in the area of sport and recreation. He contributed immensely to a wide range of community initiatives and projects, both as an organizer and a mentor. He also played an integral role in helping to establish recreation infrastructure in the community, and was an active organizer of the Labrador Winter Games for many years. Aside from sport and recreation, Mr. Winters also chaired the committee that established the Happy Valley-Goose Bay Ground Search and Rescue Project and participated in the Melville Hospital In-Service Committee.
Mr. Winters also served on the Board of the former Labrador Inuit Development Corporation, now the Nunatsiavut Group of Companies, and was a member of the Labrador Inuit land selection negotiating team leading up to the signing of the historic Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement and the establishment of the Nunatsiavut Government. He also served on the Board of the Labrador Inuit Association.
In 2006, he was acclaimed as chair of the NunaKatiget Community Corporation, representing Inuit in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Mud Lake, in the Nunatsiavut Assembly. In fact, he was the first official member of the Nunatsiavut Assembly. He held this position twice – once for four years and again following a successful bi-election win in September 2011. He formally retired from political life in September 2014.
Mr. Winters regularly visited family and friends in Makkovik, and maintained a strong connection to the land, actively pursuing a traditional Labrador Inuit lifestyle.
He was invested into the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2007 and was inducted into the Newfoundland and Labrador Softball Hall of Fame in 1985 and into the Newfoundland and Labrador Volunteer Hall of Fame in 2012. He was also a recipient of Newfoundland and Labrador Volunteer Pitcher Plant Award in 2001 and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.
Mr. Winters is survived by wife of 47 years, Mary (Montague); daughters Marlene (husband Greg) Wheeler, Maxene, and Leanne (husband Derek) Hill; son John Paul (wife Erin); grandchildren Adam Hill, Aidan Wheeler, Jeremy and Ethan Winters, Joanne Letto, and Joshua and Denise Hill; god-daughter Maria Murphy; and great-granddaughter Ava.
Funeral services will begin 2 p.m. Saturday at the Bethel Pentecostal Church in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
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