Winfree honored once more
When he was a baby, his father picked him up and said, “My, he’s heavy as buckshot.”
Lester Winfree loved Orange County with a pioneer spirit, successful business, loving family and a duty to community.
His honors were many, most recently as The Record’s 50th Anniversary Person of the Year; and in 2009 as namesake for the Port of Orange’s new security center.
A week ago, no one would have imagined they’d soon mourn him in Winfree Baptist Church, over a seemingly simple trip that began at his house and ended near a pier on the bayou.
Bridge City Bank President Jerry Davidson, a friend for 30 years, described him as a man of wisdom; a gentleman who was always for the underdog.
“When I first met Buckshot, I was kind of tickled by the way he walked. Buckshot walked, or at least took twice as many steps as everybody else – but he’d still get there at the same time … I think Buckshot took twice as many steps because the Lord had determined that Buckshot would make it twice as much as the rest of us.”
Recalling occasions in boardrooms when discussions could get heated, Davidson said, “With Buckshot, when it was all said and done, I can’t count the number of times he would come up to me and say, ‘It’s going to be all right. Either I’m right or you’re right. But it’s going to be all right.’”
Childhood friend and former state Rep. Wayne Peveto was born the same year as Buckshot – 1939.
Their families raised cattle together, and huddled around World War II radios listening to reports on the fighting.
Lester and Bobby Cormier often rode with the Peveto boys. One of Lester’s favorite stories was when Wayne and two Peveto cousins went bull riding at a rodeo. They tried several times but were always thrown right out of the chute.
A man in the stands kept shouting, “I wish those Peveto boys would quit trying to ride! They can’t ride!”
Record Publisher Roy Dunn said, “It never was about Buck. It was always about us.”
The two often visited by phone on early mornings, talking over coffee, the events of the day and politics.
“I’ve always appreciated the relationship he had with Bobby,” Dunn said. “I always called them the Gold Dust Twins. If you’d met them somewhere, you’d probably think they owned 75- to 100-foot lots. I believe that says a lot about their character.”
Dunn added, “He loved his heritage, and loved the people he came from.”