This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," March 28, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: A Tennessee church is in shock tonight as they bury their young minister. Police say schoolteacher Mary Winkler shot her 31-year-old minister husband in the back in their bedroom.
Joining us out of Nashville, Tennessee, is a family friend of the Winklers, Eddie Thompson. Welcome, sir.
EDDIE THOMPSON, WINKLER FAMILY FRIEND: Thank you. Glad to be here.
VAN SUSTEREN: Obviously, a very, very tragic time for this family. You're close to Matthew's father, is that right, sir?
THOMPSON: Yes, I am. Thank you.
VAN SUSTEREN: How did you hear about this?
THOMPSON: Actually, I got a call from my wife. I was up in Iowa, and she called me and told me what had happened. And it was just so sad.
VAN SUSTEREN: How long have you known Matthew and his father and Matthew's wife, Mary?
THOMPSON: I have known Dan Winkler 15 years, I would guess, maybe longer.
VAN SUSTEREN: And Matthew, his son? How long have you known him, 15 years, as well?
THOMPSON: Yes. Yes, basically.
VAN SUSTEREN: Have you ever met Mary?
VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, how did you happen to know this family?
THOMPSON: Well, we attended church with them, and we have taken family vacations together. Our boys grew up with their boys. And we've been close friends. He's probably the closest friend I have.
VAN SUSTEREN: And by "his," you mean Dan or Matthew?
THOMPSON: Dan, yes.
VAN SUSTEREN: What do you make of this? I mean, this has shocked everybody. It seems bizarre.
THOMPSON: It is bizarre. I don't know how to describe it. Mary and Matthew were just a great couple. And they had just precious children. It's a wonderful family, and Matthew comes from just an outstanding family. It was just shocking. It's hard to believe.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know, one of the things that we — sort of everyone sort of looks at is, you know, whether there's, you know, money problems. Know of any personal problems like that in the family?
VAN SUSTEREN: Any, you know, boyfriends or girlfriends, ever hear anything like that?
THOMPSON: No. No, no.
VAN SUSTEREN: Mary have any problems herself, I mean, ever exhibit anything unusual?
THOMPSON: No. She was a loving, caring mother.
VAN SUSTEREN: Never had any problems, never saw anyone for special care or anything like that?
THOMPSON: No, not that I know of.
VAN SUSTEREN: What was Matthew like?
THOMPSON: Matthew was a large young man, had a broad smile, enthusiastic, happy. He gave a tremendous bear hug when he hugged you. He loved life and was funny, just incredibly funny.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know where Matthew and Mary met?
THOMPSON: They met in school. They met in college.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know where that was?
THOMPSON: Yes, at Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee.
VAN SUSTEREN: Now, is that a religious or faith-based school?
THOMPSON: It is. It surely is.
VAN SUSTEREN: So I understand that Matthew's father is also a minister?
THOMPSON: Yes, he is.
VAN SUSTEREN: How much of a role did faith play in this family? I mean, I take it that a rather significant one, if the father and son are both ministers.
THOMPSON: Yes. I mean, their faith is core to their lives. They are dedicated people and have been servants. I mean, I think that's the best way to describe the whole Winkler family is individuals who care about others, deeply compassionate, engaged in people's lives. Faith was a major part of that.
VAN SUSTEREN: Was this assignment for Matthew his first church assignment, or had he been other places?
THOMPSON: He had been other places. He had served as a youth minister at several churches really throughout Tennessee, and I believe in Alabama at one time.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you remember the last time you spoke to him?
THOMPSON: No, I don't. It was probably about six months ago, seven months ago.
VAN SUSTEREN: Now, Matthew and Mary have three children.
VAN SUSTEREN: And very young children.
THOMPSON: Yes, three little girls. They are just precious. They're bright. They're happy. They're engaging, and they're active.
VAN SUSTEREN: Any idea where a gun would come from? Was Matthew a hunter?
THOMPSON: You know, I think he had maybe taken up hunting in the last year or so, but that's not been a central part of his life.
VAN SUSTEREN: How long had they been married?
THOMPSON: I believe about 11 years.
VAN SUSTEREN: So this is a marriage, actually, of a significant duration. It's not a new marriage.
THOMPSON: Oh, yes. That's correct.
VAN SUSTEREN: Neither one of them had been married before, as far as you know?
THOMPSON: No, neither one.
VAN SUSTEREN: How are the parents? I imagine this is pretty tough for them tonight.
THOMPSON: Oh, it is.
VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, last night and the nights before.
THOMPSON: It is. It's been devastating. They were so proud of Matthew. And they have two other sons. They have three sons, Jacob and Daniel, and they're just quality young men — broad smiles, happy and — but it's still tonight — it's a very sad time for them.
VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, in your wildest dreams, you can't think of how this could happen?
THOMPSON: No. No. I would have never thought this would happen, especially with this couple.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why?
THOMPSON: They just seemed so happy. I mean, the children are so healthy and well balanced. I mean, they're — they're — they crawl all over their father. They love their mother. No signs at all — I mean, no signs at all with the children that there was any stress whatsoever in the family.
VAN SUSTEREN: Eddie, thank you very much.
THOMPSON: Oh, thank you. Greta, we'd like to encourage people to help us fund the healing process of these children. They're going to need counseling. And we've set up a Web site, www.Winklerfamilyfund.com. And if you'd like to get information, you can go to that Web site. If you'd like to get a letter to the family or to the children, we'd be happy to do that, too. Thank you, Greta. Thank you so much.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, Eddie.
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