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SunnySister BS: Obit: Mr. Arthur Winston (3) BS: Obit: Mr. Arthur Winston 14 Apr 06


I hope it's okay that I copied the article below for reading. Mr. Winston captured my heart. I am celebrating him and wanted to share with you a wonderful man. We will never see his like again.

In Yahoo, they have this additional information to the article below:

"Arthur Winston, a longtime transit employee who received a citation from President Clinton for his decades of service, died in his sleep less than a month after retiring on his 100th birthday, his family said Friday.

Winston recently had been admitted to a hospital for exhaustion and dehydration, but returned to his home April 6. He died Thursday evening."



MTA Legend Arthur Winston, 100, Dies After Brief Retirement
By Kurt Streeter, Times Staff Writer
April 14, 2006

Arthur Winston, who set a remarkable personal record by missing only a single day in 72 years of work, died of congestive heart failure Thursday as he slept in his South Los Angeles home. He was 100.

Many of his colleagues and friends honored him by calling him Mr. Winston. He cleaned Los Angeles buses and trains for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The only shift he missed was the day in 1988 that his wife died. Otherwise, said his bosses at the MTA, they had never known him to arrive for work late or to leave work early. He didn't retire until March 23 one day after he turned 100

Why then?

"Oh," he said with a shrug, "100 years seemed like enough."

Mr. Winston's great-granddaughter, Brandii Wright, 29, said today that working until he had lived to be 100 was a long sought milestone. "He accomplished his goal," she said. "After reaching that he felt like he did what he had to do in life. It was okay to move on. I'm just really proud of him."

Mr. Winston was slender and well groomed, a tan-skinned man, who liked to step out of his house each morning with his shirt freshly pressed.

Even in his last years, he walked with the upright dignity of a man utterly confident in himself and what he stood for. His chin rose, and his almond-shaped eyes sparkled when he ticked off what he considered his greatest accomplishments.

They were confronting the racism he experienced as a black man, living long enough to see his great-great grandchildren, and being a witness to so much history.

Still, he did not consider himself particularly special. "I'm just a working man," he said in a 2005 interview, five months before he died. "Nothing more, nothing less. My Daddy taught me the right way to do things. I just tried to follow what Daddy said."

Never shy about making his feelings known, Mr. Winston was something of an urban storyteller. At work, at home and in his neighborhood, youngsters, including people in their 60s and 70s, hovered around when he gave advice. He spoke on everything from politics to finances to the importance of work.

Foremost among his beliefs was that a person should stay active as long as possible. "Stop in one place too long, you freeze up," he would say. "Freeze up, you're done for." The best way to keep from freezing up? That was simple, he said. "Keep working. Work and work some more. That's all there is to this live a long life thing."

There were other nuggets. In his bluesy, scratchy voice, Mr. Winston often opined on the dangers of racking up debt and buying unnecessary things "fancy cars and such." And he warned about the dangers that came with too much alcohol, too much fried food, too much exercise, or too many pills.

At work on a winter day in 2005, he told a group of colleagues that one of the reasons he had lived so long was that he opted for a few tablespoons of castor oil whenever he felt sick. Over-the-counter medication, he said, was something to avoid.

"Pills are one of the biggest problems people face today, especially these old people you see out there," he said. "I've never in all my life seen so many people taking so many pills. And at the same time it seems like people are nothing but sicker than ever. It's a shame, all these old people dying over the pills they take."

No matter what contributed to his spunk and longevity — good genes, an aversion to modern medicine, or just sheer determination — the results were evident. A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Labor said that he had never heard of anyone, who had worked as long and as continuously as Mr. Winston. In 1997, MTA officials named the bus yard where he worked after him.

Even as he neared 100, Mr. Winston kept at it. Like clockwork, 15 minutes before each shift, he pulled his 1978 Cutlass into the Arthur Winston Bus Division. He parked in a spot reversed for him, checked to be sure his blue uniform was tidy and marched off to punch yet another hole in his timecard.

He did slow down. In recent years, he took longer breaks. He sat in the warmth of the second-floor break room, watched CNN and offered up a steady stream of commentary on current issues. He grew angry at the Bush Administration, the war in Iraq and the state of Black America, which he considered to be in a shambles.

Nonetheless, he kept doing what he was asked. "Puts in his eight hour days," said his boss, Alex DiNuzzo. "He never complains. He's always willing to adjust to do what is needed. Works faster than a lot of guys. And does it with the best attitude out there."

Each morning, he eagerly walked the sprawling South Los Angeles bus yard. He cleaned grime off bus floors, wiped down bus windows and supervised a small crew of workers.



Following his lead was easy, his co-workers said. They held him in too much awe to question him. "You see him and you thing to yourself, 'That man, after all he had seen and done — why, he's better than a history book-look, he's still at it,'" said Roy Turner, a bus mechanic. "I think about him when I get tired. It's like how can I be tired. Look at this man, almost 100, and he's not tired."

Mr. Winston grew up on a farm in Okalahoma, the son of a sharecropper, who lived until he was 99.
In 1924, when Mr. Winston was 17 and fresh from the Midwest, he took a job cleaning trolley cars for the Los Angeles Railway Co., a predecessor to today's MTA. He worked for a short spell and then quit, partly because he was frustrated. He wanted to be a driver. But the company did not allow black drivers.

On Jan. 24, 1934, he decided to come back to work. When the transit agency finally let blacks drive, he was well into adulthood — he and his wife, Frances, were busy raising kids. "It just seemed too late to change," he said.

He stayed a transit janitor. From the vantage point of his bus yard, he witnessed the city's growing pains. He saw whites leave South Los Angeles, saw blacks become a majority, then saw blacks begin to leave as Latinos came in larger numbers. He witnessed periods when people got along and moments when the city exploded in riots.

To his chagrin, he watched the destruction of the dense network of trolleys that connected parts of Los Angeles. Then, over the last two decades, he saw the slow rebirth of commuter trains as the city began to rebuild its network of rail lines.

Mr. Winston took constant change in stride. He said he tried hard to be sure that bitter times did not defeat him. He used moments in history as touchstones, reminders of his good fortune to live so long.

From the 1940s until the day he died, he lived in a small, white house just south of the Santa Monica Freeway. In his last years, he shared the home with his great-granddaughter and his great-great grandson.

"I guess, if you live long enough you'll see everything," he said one day in 2004, as he sat on the steps of his house and looked out at his street. "Sometimes you see things come around twice. I don't mind. I like it.

"My Daddy taught me how to work and he also taught me that no matter what's going on around you, just stay strong on the inside. Don't bother nobody. Don't let nothin' destroy you. No matter how things are going in the outside world, just keep going. Keep going, and learn from what you see in front of you."

Mr. Winston is survived by his brother, North Winston, 98, his great-granddaughter Brandii Wright, 29, and his great-great grandson, Kenny, age 4.

Funeral services were pending.


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