Winthrop A. Short



Chapel Hill, N.C.

Winthrop A. Short, 100 years old, died on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, in Chapel Hill, N.C. Mr. Short was president of the Knapp Shoes from the 1960s to 1980s. He was a charter trustee of Princeton University from 1972 to 1982 and served on the board of directors of Liberty Mutual Insurance, the McCarter Theatre and the Princeton Blairstown Centers.

Mr. Short was born on Nov. 14, 1919, in Newark, N.J., the son of Walter Edwin and Mary Hosley Short, both teachers. He attended public schools in Trenton, N.J., before earning a B.A. at Princeton in 1941. He received a Bachelor of Laws from Yale Law School and a Masters in Taxation from New York University.

In 1945, Mr. Short married Janet Gerdes, whom he met while they both attended Yale Law. They shared a love of jazz and musical theatre and supported causes that promoted women’s and civil rights. He was predeceased by Janet in 2004. In 2006, he married Marguerite Turner and moved to Birmingham, Ala. They remained happily married until Marguerite’s death in 2011.

Mr. Short generously supported many worthwhile institutions and organizations, including the Island Institute, the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, the Jackson Laboratory, the National Humanities Center, among others. A skilled fundraiser, Mr. Short was recognized by Princeton with several development awards over five decades as he set records for capital campaigns and class giving, even as recently as 2016 (75th reunion class). Upon hearing of his death, the Princeton development office wrote that “Win Short ’41 ranks as one of Princeton’s great alumni leaders” and his service was “characterized by his gracious, patient and low-key manner. People always returned Win’s calls.”

Mr. Short loved the Maine coast, where he shared his summer home on the Mount Desert Island shore of Blue Hill Bay with family and friends. He particularly liked sailing, gardening, reading and his daily early-morning exercise routine, but most of all loved to see the joy that loved ones took in the beautiful setting and many outdoor activities.

Mr. Short was predeceased by a son, John Gerdes Short, who died in 1983, and his brother, William H. Short, who died in 1991. He is survived by three sons: Winthrop Jr. and Jane Reeb Short (Virginia Beach, Va.), Andrew Short and Andrea Vizoso (Chapel Hill, N.C.) and David and Esther Yazwinski Short (Montague, Mass.); grandchildren: Leslie Short, Amanda Short Linhart, Sarah Short, Katherine Short, John Short and Julia Short; great-grandchildren: Olivia and Samantha Daly-Short, Mackenzie and Morgan Linhart, and Harriet and Wyatt Winthrop Short; foster great-grandchild, Hilina; and godchildren: Stephen White and Kristin Linsley.

After a memorial service and gathering of family and friends this summer, Mr. Short will be buried on Mount Desert Island. A memorial service will be held on Feb. 15 in Chapel Hill.

In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made to Mount Desert Hospital.

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