(Brad Ellliott / Westmont College video)

A memorial service will be held Aug. 29 to celebrate the life of Westmont College President Emeritus David Winter, who died of cancer Aug. 15 at age 84. 

David Winter died of cancer Aug. 15 at age 84. (Brad Elliott / Westmont College file photo)

David Winter died of cancer Aug. 15 at age 84. (Brad Elliott / Westmont College file photo)

The service is scheduled for 10 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Santa Barbara, 21 E. Constance St., the college announced Tuesday.

Winter had been diagnosed with a slow-growing lung cancer about a year ago, but the cancer recently spread to other parts of his body.

He died at his Santa Barbara home, with his wife, Helene, and other family members at his side.

Winter served as Westmont’s president from 1976 until 2001, and returned at interim president and chancellor in 2006 and 2007.

Under his 25-year leadership, the school, at 955 La Paz Road in the Montecito foothills, become a nationally ranked liberal arts college.

Winter is credited with strengthening the quality of the faculty and students, campus facilities, student life and outreach programs, the endowment, and off-campus study opportunities.

“Westmont continues to benefit from Dave’s contribution during his long and distinguished service,” Westmont President Gayle Beebe said. “The college and our local community are fundamentally different and better because of his vision and the work he accomplished.

“The Kingdom of God is also richer and better for the many ways Westmont graduates serve throughout the world.”

After a four-year stint as an air intelligence officer in the Navy, Winter earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UCLA, and a doctorate in anthropology and sociology from Michigan State University.

During his career as an educator, he taught at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill.; Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Michigan State, and later served as executive vice president of Whitworth College in Spokane, Wash.

In 1976, he was named president of Westmont, succeeding Lyle Hillegas, who had held the job from 1972 to 1975.

After his second retirement, Winter served as headmaster of Providence, a college-preparatory Christian high school in Santa Barbara, from 2008 to 2011.

Without warning, Winter lost nearly all of his eyesight over a three-week period in 1998.

“My eyes are fine, it’s the optic nerves that connect the two eyes to the brain,” he recalled in a 2008 Noozhawk interview. “What occurred is something like a stroke, where you don’t get enough blood to the brain. In this case, the optic nerve did not.”

He said the loss was emotionally painful, but instructive.

“I’ve used this as a basis for sharing with large groups and small groups,” he said. “Into each of our lives things happen and occur that come to us that are very, very hard to accept.

“We could spend the rest of our lives fighting it or be resentful and angry, or we can come to terms with it and accept it as something we can deal with.”

Winter is survived by his wife, Helene, and his three children, Laura Winter, Bruce Winter, and Frankie Winter and her two sons; and Helene’s children, Steve Kamm and his four children, Jeremy Kamm and his two children, and Stacey Smith and her two children.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at wmacfadyen@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at wmacfadyen@noozhawk.com, and follow him on Instagram: @bill.macfadyen. The opinions expressed are his own.