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Chelsea Man Dies at Age 105

Winchell Robert Faucett of Chelsea lived through the Great Depression, Kennedy assassination, and watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon.

Winchell Robert Faucett, 105, of Chelsea, formerly of India and Naperville, Ill., died Nov. 21, 2012 at Chelsea Retirement Community.

Faucett moved to Chelsea from Naperville, Ill. to be close to his sister, Evelyn Faucett, his nephew Robert Holmes and his “honorary” niece Sara Holmes.

At his 100th birthday party on Nov. 16, 2007, Winchell informed everyone that his next goal was 105, and to everyone’s joy he made it!

Winchell was a citizen of the world and like all members of his family had a deep appreciation for diverse international cultures and peoples.

He was born in Bareilly, India to Robert Isaac Faucett and Myrtle (Bare) Faucett.

Winchell’s parents and grandparents were Methodist missionaries in India for many decades. He attended grammar school and high school at Philander Smith College in the hill station of Naini Tal, India.

Winchell was a true son of India. As a boy, he had to shake his shoes before putting them on to dislodge any poisonous scorpions or snakes. Homes where the family lived often had king cobras near the property and sometimes inside the house. Leopards roamed in the surrounding jungle and sometimes in the yard, as well.

In his early teenage years he hunted in the jungle with his younger brother, Leonard, and once swam (unknowingly) across a crocodile infested river. He survived many serious tropical diseases in his early life due to his strong immune system.

He was fluent throughout his life in Hindustani and various Indian dialects.

Winchell graduated from Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa where he met his future wife, Velma Day. After graduation from college, Winchell worked for Firestone in Burma. Velma, who had never been out of Iowa, subsequently traveled 30 days by ship with Winchell’s older sister, Marguerite, to Rangoon, where she and Winchell were married by his father.

The couple honeymooned on the “Road to Mandalay.” After working and living in Burma and India, Winchell and Velma moved back to the United States, where he had a 35-year career as an executive with the Brunswick Corporation.

Winchell was an avid photographer and he loved to cook Indian cruisine and eat in Indian restaurants. He was president of Mill Crossing Condominium Association in Naperville, Ill. until he was 95; and was also an active member of the hunger committee at Community United Methodist Church, where he and Velma were members since 1976.

He regularly drove his car, which was heavily laden with food from Naperville to food pantries in Chicago until his mid-'90s.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 73 years, Velma; his daughter Susan; his sister, Marguerite Faucett Holmes; and his brother, Leonard Faucett.

Winchell is survived by his sister, Evelyn Faucett, who moved in May to Chelsea from Madison, Tenn. He is also survived by nieces Ellen Faucett, Deb Faucett, and Nancy Casey and nephew Ben Feldt. He is also survived by a nephew, Robert (Sara) Holmes, their daughter, Elizabeth Spaulding and their son, Charles Homes.

He was also the great-great-uncle to Abby Spaulding and Sophie, Will, and Ingrid Holmes.

The family expresses its love and appreciation to Rosea and Frank Ortiz of Naperville, who saved Winchell’s life a number of years ago after a very serious fall; and Roumi Petrova and Greta Woods, who were excellent caregivers and friends in Naperville. Since Winchell was a life-long learner and teacher, he taught them a bit of Hindustani and they taught him a few words of Bulgarian.

Cremation has taken place. A brief memorial service will be held in the main chapel of Chelsea Retirement Community on Dec. 30 at 3 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to Community United Methodist Church, 20 N. Center St., Naperville, IL. 60540-4611.

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