A Community Heroine Gains Her Heavenly Wings: Remembering Deborah Winn

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On December 5, 2019, Dr. Deborah Winn gained her heavenly wings. She was 66 years old.

Born on September 24, 1953, Deborah was the second youngest of nine children. She was born in Kansas City, KS and came to Los Angeles, California with her family at a very young age. She attended Jefferson High School in Los Angeles, California. She gave birth to four children and then later married Aubrey Winn on September 24, 1988 where he helped raise her children as his own.

Deborah was very instrumental within both Los Angeles and San Bernardino Communities. She accomplished philanthropical deeds through her organization Willing Winn Associations and Missions (WWAM Inc.). Through WWAM she was able to pursue and accomplish her purpose in life by educating and meeting the basic living needs of underprivileged families and individuals with love and respect; thereby, leading them to self-sufficiency.

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Dr. Deborah Winn and husband Aubrey Winn on a cruise in 2018.

Some of the major accomplishments that Deborah achieved included: feeding over 15,000 people at the Los Angeles Sports Arena; being honored at the 2014 Unforgettable Foundation’s gala; founding Juneteenth in San Bernardino where she held three celebrations (2013 at Perris Hill Park, 2014 on the block of Wall Street and 2017 at San Bernardino Valley College); and WWAM also adopted Juanita Beckley Elementary School in San Bernardino where Mrs. Winn provided food services and Christmas Toy Giveaways to over 300 students.  

In addition to her community efforts, the Winns also housed seven exchange students from all over the world. These students came from Korea, Japan, Rio de Janeiro, India and Brazil. Through WWAM, the Winns provided children with the opportunities to experience outgoings that they wouldn’t be able to experience without the help of WWAM. These outgoings included: Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers games, Disney On Ice, the Philharmonic Orchestra, the Universal Soul Circus, the L.A. Kings Hockey games, and more.

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Dr. Deborah Winn and author Michael Eric Dyson

The community efforts did not stop there though. Upon coming to San Bernardino from Whitter, California, Deborah moved to one of the notorious areas of the Westside of San Bernardino— Wall Street. Wall Street, also known as Operation Phoenix, has since become transformed after WWAM took over. WWAM Inc., provided monthly fish frys, BBQs and community block parties as a means to cease the violence in that area. Because of this, Deborah ‘adopted’ men from the ages of 18 up to 80-years old who referred to themselves as ‘Mommas Boys’.

Dr. Deborah Winn’s legacy will continue to live on. She is preceded in death by her parents, brothers Buford “Blue” Lewis, Orlando “Bear” Lewis, and sister Donetta “Dee Dee” Witherspoon. She is survived by her husband Aubrey Winn; five siblings; four children: TaMeeka, Dalia, Brittnay and Michael; 31 grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, and other family members and close friends.

A memorial is set for Sunday, January 19 at 4 p.m., at the Winn home on Wall Avenue in San Bernardino. For those that are interested in attending, please email Dalia at daliamac1@yahoo.com.

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Dr. Deborah Winn (center), Aubrey Winn (left) and Naomi K. Bonman (right)

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