Proud ranchers John, Barbara Wintch were glad to serve as grand marshals

John and Barbara Wintch were placed front and center as Grand Marshals of Manti’s 4th of July Parade last weekend. The couple was honored for a lifetime of service to their community.

MANTI—John and Barbara Wintch are proud ranchers who will be handing off their legacy of raising cattle in the Sanpete Valley to their children.

They are extremely proud to have raised six wonderful children; and they couldn’t happier to say that all of them help run the Wintch Livestock Company, said Barbara.

John, who is a fourth generation rancher, has started to hand over the reins to his two sons, but he is still involved in the daily operations.

Because the Wintches have been pillars of the community all of their lives, they were recognized as Grand Marshals of this year’s July 4th Parade and Celebration.

Manti Mayor Kerry Soper said the Wintches make great representatives for Manti. They have been active in helping out in the community their entire lives. Barbara also spent a few years in public office serving as both a council member and mayor of Manti.

John and Barbara are known as hard workers, dedicated to their faith, their community and their family, said Mary Wintch, a relative and Manti City council member. 

“We’ve loved living here,” Barbara said. “John has lived here his entire life and I came here when we were married.”

John, 78, was born in Manti and grew up raising sheep and cattle with his family.

Barbara, 75, was born in Orem and learned farming from her father, who was fruit farmer. Barbara attended university in Germany for 6 months and John was serving an LDS Mission in Germany at the same time as well. The two young people met each other in Germany on one occasion, but they didn’t realize they would become life-long partners.

It was only when the two young people returned to Utah and became reacquainted by a mutual friend, did they start dating.

“I was a BYU student and he was Utah State Student,” Barbara said. “So, there was no real reason for us to meet.”

But thanks to a friend who lived in Manti, Jim and Barbara were brought together at a family party.

“We met and I had grown up on a farm and learned how to work,” she said. “And I told my Dad I would never marry a rancher; but I did when I found John.”

They both went up to Logan, where John worked on his masters and Barbara taught school for a year. They were married in 1967 and the couple returned to Manti, where their first child was born.

After their graduation from USU, they assumed leadership of the Wintch Livestock Company, and continue to work in the business with their children. John’s work in the cattle industry was recognized with the Rancher’s Legacy Award in 2005 and he was named Sanpete County King Cowboy in 2011.

Barbara has served as a city council member for six years and mayor of Manti for one term, which ended in 2001.  She spent 19 years teaching English at Ephraim Middle School.

Both John and Barbara have served in numerous church leadership positions throughout their lives and completed a church mission together.

The couple is still hard at work raising cattle and the whole family is involved, Barbara said.

“We still make a living at it,” she said. “But right now ranching is not an easy life; it requires a lot of work; and we’re worried about the drought and hoping the rains will come.”

John and Barbara said their biggest accomplishment and greatest joy is their family, consisting of six children: Lisa, James (deceased), Christena, Mark, Juliann and Paul; and 24 grandchildren.