On a recent Monday I received a nice letter from Winnelle Horne in the morning mail. The next afternoon I got a sad telephone call from one of her close friends. The inspiration for the little North Florida city of Chiefland's fabulous quilt museum had died at 87.
Winnelle Horne believed that a nice warm quilt was good for whatever ailed society. Creating a museum to house Florida quilts, old and new, was her lifelong dream. She was a whirlwind, but still it took her a quarter of a century of fundraising, persuading and a little bossing to make it happen, finally, in 2000.
I knew her only a few months — I wrote a story about her and her beloved museum in November — but she was one of those people you meet once and know you're going to be lifelong friends. We regularly talked on the phone and corresponded almost until the end. The subject of her health never came up.
On Jan. 27, Miss Winnelle — that's what people called her — suffered a stroke. On Jan. 30, she died from a heart attack in her home, which appropriately happened to be the quilt museum.
The board of directors Miss Winnelle set up a while back — she tried to think of everything — has voted to keep the museum open.
If you want to help keep it that way, pay a visit. If you can't visit, send a donation to Levy County Quilt Museum, 11050 NW 10th Ave., Chiefland, FL 32626. The phone number is (352) 493-2801.
Jeff Klinkenberg, Times staff writer