In November of 1975, Sherry Vass was eating in Southside’s Feeney Dining Center when she asked a simple question of a friend, “Who’s that cute boy?”
“That’s Don’s ‘little’ roommate,” she was told. Even though Vince Winkler, the “little roommate” in question, was a freshman, the sophomore Sherry didn’t mind.
The two first talked at a party in the basement of Whitten Hall later that month, but it wasn’t until they attended cultural events on campus to fulfill a requirement for a shared class that Sherry and Vince came together.
Vince asked Sherry to attend a performance of The Marriage of Figaro. With her father something of an opera buff, Sherry enjoyed the date on February 7, 1976. It was the first of many moments the two shared, as they soon became a couple.
After graduating from the English Department in 1978, Sherry worked at the Daily Pantagraph in Bloomington for a year before moving to Chicago to work for Gorman Publishing Company. The pair stayed together, even when Vince graduated from the College of Business in 1979 to work for his father’s construction company in Washburn. The distance created an absence that made their hearts grow fonder, as they continued to visit each other on the weekends.
For Christmas of 1982, Vince gave Sherry a marriage proposal. The newly engaged couple picked out rings on New Year’s Day. A little more than seven years after applauding Figaro’s marriage, Sherry and Vince had a ceremony of their own. Their wedding was on October 22, 1983, with many Redbirds on hand to celebrate.
“Both our families went to Illinois State,” Sherry said, “so there was a connection to the University. It was kind of a sign that we both ended up there.”
Parents of two children who are now adults, the couple lives in Washington. Sherry works in the composition department for Courier Newspapers, while Vince owns and operates Winkler Construction Company.
They maintain strong ties to the University. They attend Illinois State basketball games regularly and are able to keep up with the changing campus. Although saddened to hear of Southside’s planned demolition, the memories they constructed as undergraduates are strong. For as Sherry notes with gratitude, “ISU gave us a both an amazing experience.”