Four Winns founder passes away

One of the founding brothers of Four Winns has died in Cadillac, Mich.

Rec Boat Holdings, which now owns the Four Winns brand, provided the following obituary:

Charles E. “Charlie” Winn, of Cadillac, passed away November 18 at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor. He was 70.

He was born May 1, 1943, in Hamilton, Ohio, to William Harden and June Carolyn (Hathorn) Winn Sr.

Charlie was the consummate “people person” and salesman. He was funny, charming, warm-hearted, positive and “unfiltered.” Charlie genuinely loved his family and friends: old, new and yet-to-be-made.

You could count on his loyalty to all those he loved and to any cause he believed in. He was a dear husband, father, grandfather, son and brother. We are sad to have lost him and he is greatly missed.

Charlie was a founder of Four Winns Boat Company, as well as Lakeside Charlies Restaurant and Pheasant Ridge Estates, all in Cadillac. He was also a founder of the Charlevoix Country Club and, long ago, a sales manager at Investors Diversified Services (IDS) in Lansing.

Charlie had a passion for water, antique boats and boating in general. He was a member of various yacht clubs in Florida and Michigan, as well as a member of the Antique and Classic Boat Society, Great Lakes Cruising Club and the Pine River Association.

Over the years, he collected and restored various antique wooden boats. His enthusiasm for boating led him to explore harbors and marinas throughout the Great Lakes, North Channel and Florida waters, where he particularly liked taking day trips to out-of-the-way spots. He and his wife, Janna, have also had many wonderful years living and loving at their home on the Pine River.

Besides boating, Charlie was an avid fan of nice cars and motorcycles. As member of the Porsche Club of America and BMW Motorcycles Owners of America, he enjoyed many driving adventures around the countryside. It was always the journey rather than the destination to Charlie — unless, of course, the destination was a restaurant. If ever there was an out-of-the-way or new restaurant to be discovered, he would find it.

Charlie was an avid reader with a special interest in current affairs, human interest stories and politics.

He really liked the feel of a newspaper between his hands. He always appreciated a good political discussion and, no doubt, would be very disappointed that he is unable to vote in 2014.

He was a generous man, compassionate and fair. He was quick to lend a hand to anyone in need and encouraged all to value themselves and others. His strength and encouragement will live on in our hearts.

On September 11, 1977, in Lansing, he married the former Janna Kay Hendricks. She survives him, along with three daughters: Wendy (Bill) Taylor of Haslett, Heidi (Kevin) Hall of Cadillac and Amy (Sean) Smith of DeWitt; nine grandchildren: Jeff Taylor, Morgan Taylor, Brad Hall, Bryant Hall, Brock Hall, Sean Smith Jr., Mitchell Smith, Ian Spry and Hannah Smith; his parents: William H. and June C. Winn Sr. of Naples, Fla.; brothers, William H. Winn Jr. of Naples, Fla., and John (Zita) Winn of Charlevoix; nephews: George (Connie) Winn of Fort Myers, Fla., and Billy (Melissa) Winn of Fort Myers, Fla.,; Kenny Anderson of Baton Rouge, La.; and niece, Zita Anderson of Traverse City.

He was preceded in death by two nephews, Trent Winn and Taylor Winn.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in support of the leukemia research efforts of Dr. Moshe Talpaz at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. Contributions should be sent to: University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, (c/o Office of Health System Development, 1000 Oakbrook Drive, Suite 100, Ann Arbor, MI 48104-6815, online at or the Michigan Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

An online guest book is available at

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