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Baritone Norbert J. Winkler, who once had a program on WBEN radio and later sang for major opera companies, died Saturday (Oct. 12, 1996) in Mountain View, Calif., after a long illness.

Winkler, 74, of Los Altos, Calif., had his own singing show on WBEN after winning the annual Buffalo Evening News Voices of Tomorrow contest in the early 1940s.

Born and raised in Buffalo, he attended Canisius High School and graduated in 1942 from Canisius College with a degree in business administration. He spent two years with a local accounting firm before following his heart and enrolling in the Eastman School of Music in Rochester for his degree in voice and opera.

During World War II, he served with the Army in Guam.

Winkler spent seven years in the opera and concert world, working out of New York City and Hollywood. He sang leading roles with the New York City Opera, St. Louis Municipal Opera, Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, N.J., and the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera.

He was a guest baritone soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic and the Niagara Falls Symphony, and also sang in St. Joseph's Old Cathedral in downtown Buffalo.

Winkler joined Ford Marketing Institute in 1957, helping develop many of its training programs in Fort Lee, N.J., and Hackensack, N.J. He continued with Ford after moving to California in 1961 and retired in 1983 but continued as a Ford consultant until 1986.

Survivors include his wife, the former Joan Peterson; three sons, Paul of Sunnyvale, Calif., Mark of Portland, Ore., and Gregory of Boulder, Colo.; and a sister, Marion of Hamburg.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered Wednesday in Los Altos. Burial will be in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Los Altos. [crdnl]

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