In 1964, David “Mike” and Sarah “Penny” (née Rand) Winton purchased the twelve-acre property on the shores of Lake Minnetonka in Orono, Minn., and moved into the modern brick house designed by architect Philip Johnson in 1952 for the Minneapolis Institute of Arts senior curator Richard S. Davis and his wife.
Both Mike and Penny were born in Minnesota. Mike earned his undergraduate degree from Princeton and a graduate degree in business from Harvard. Penny received an interdisciplinary degree from the University of Minnesota. Mike spent a short time in management consulting in New York City before returning to the Twin Cities to run his family’s British Columbia-based lumber and milling business. After decades operating the lumber business, he served as the managing general partner of his family’s investment operation.
The Wintons were true supporters of contemporary architecture in the Twin Cities. Mike was influential in securing for Cesar Pelli the commission to design the Norwest Center (now Wells Fargo Center) in downtown Minneapolis. Mike also served on the board of the Walker Art Center for twenty years. Penny was instrumental in seeing the Weisman Art Museum through its first building project with Gehry in the early 1990s, and she was a member of the museum’s Colleagues Advisory Board for many years. The Wintons also founded a chair at the University of Minnesota to encourage innovative research in the liberal arts. Their lifelong interest in architecture led to their receipt of the Regent’s Award from the University of Minnesota’s School of Architecture and Landscape Design in 2008, the highest honor the university bestows.
Mike passed away in May 2008 at the age of 79. Penny lives in Minneapolis and remains active in the local community, dedicated to aiding organizations advocating justice and human rights, a lifelong passion she shared with her husband.