Eva Susanne Winkler Dencker
January 9, 1923 – September 22, 2017
EVA S. WINKLER DENCKER, 94, passed away peacefully on September 22, 2017, in Los Gatos with family by her side. Eva was born in Berlin, Germany. Her father was Prof. Dr. Friedrich Winkler, curator in charge of the Kupferstichkabinet (Prints and Drawings department) in the Museum of Art, Berlin and noted art historian of German Renaissance art. In her teen years Eva attended the private school founded by Queen Louise. Upon graduation and her mother’s urging she studied physical therapy, passed the state exam and was a practicing physical therapist in her mid-20’s.
It was in the capacity of a rehabilitation therapist at a military hospital that she was able to escape Berlin at the end of World War II. She had a harrowing journey along the rivers and canals of central Germany that lasted seven weeks on a house boat; it had been repurposed as a hospital. She arrived in Hamburg physically exhausted, but unscathed.
After the war, she married a young man - G. Christian Dencker - whose American citizenship was re-instated and upon entering the US in 1948 she became a registered physical therapist in the State of Illinois. She settled in Evanston, Illinois and was employed at St. Frances Hospital for many years, eventually working her way up to a Supervisor of the Physical Therapy Department.
In the 1960s Eva made a career change. She started as a volunteer at the Chicago Art Institute, Prints and Drawings department and then was hired at the Hanzel Gallery in Chicago. After her divorce in 1974 she returned to Europe where she secured a position as Head of the Prints and Drawings department at L’Art Ancien S.A., Zurich, Switzerland. When the gallery closed in 1985, Eva started her own business, Dencker-Winkler Prints & Drawings, and successfully ran it until she retired in 1998. She returned to the United States in 1989, after 17 years of living in Switzerland, to be closer to her two daughters, son-in-law and new granddaughter. In 2001 when her macular degeneration took a turn for the worse, she moved into the Terraces of Los Gatos where she built a new circle of friends.
Eva worked throughout her life in two careers but her love was being a mother to her two daughters. Her preference had she had a choice would have been to stay home and raise her two girls. Surviving Eva are her daughters, Andrea Margarete Dencker, Houston, TX and Claudia Marianne Dencker (John Nerness), Los Gatos, CA and her beloved granddaughter Barbara Nerness, Stanford, CA; her brother, Heinrich Winkler (Brigitte), Essen, Germany and a niece and two nephews living in Germany. The family wants to thank Hospice of the Valley and the staff at the Terraces of Los Gatos for their many hours of loving care on behalf of Eva.
Remembrances may be sent to The Vista Center of San Jose or the Foundation Fighting Blindness.