Gary Edward Winter, 77
Gary Edward Winter (March 29, 2013)
He was born April 4, 1935, in 'haute' Grosse Pointe, Mich., the second son of lithe, willowy Diana Jane Cox and the comedic Lionel Arthur Winter. Gary and his slightly less good-looking brother Glenn enjoyed a modern upper middle-class life in Grosse Pointe until Lionel was transferred to a job in Davenport, Iowa, where the family moved in 1944.
After high school graduation, an interest in structure and aptitude for mathematics led Gary to enroll at Iowa State's ceramic engineering program. He joined fraternity Alpha Chi Ro, remaining a member all four years of college. After freshman year he transferred to University of Illinois' highly esteemed engineering program to finish his bachelor's degree.
Gary then worked for Ford Motor Company in Michigan as a ceramics engineer while raising a family with college sweetheart, Joyce. They had four sons: Barry (Bear), Robert (Slob), Mark (Tark), and Jeff (Peff).
Gary later moved to the Bellaire/Boyne City area to begin his second career as a real estate broker. He was hotly pursued by second wife, Susie, a strict and rigid German/Irish Catholic who was captivated by his good looks, easy-going nature, and atheism. Her goal was to raise a family, and Gary acquiesced. Daughter Jennifer was first-born, so they tried again, finally achieving perfection with last-born daughter Elizabeth Diana.
Gary was known for his friendliness and laid-back attitude. He had many friends in Boyne City and enjoyed his job selling real estate. He was known by his family for his silliness and excellent sense of humor. He enjoyed watching comedies on TV and in movies. Favorite shows were Cheers, Hill Street Blues, and SNL. He delighted in giving quirky nicknames to friends and oddball names to pets. His children grew up with cats Squadcar, DeeDooDee and Tibitha.
Gary liked his downtime, quietly reading books or working on projects around the house. He was an excellent furniture maker, and enjoyed renovating and re-selling homes. True to his Aries nature he was neat and precise with his handiwork, kept his workspace tidy, and his own appearance stylishly immaculate. He was very proud of his children's talents, displaying their handicrafts prominently in his home and boasting about them to friends and neighbors. He loved the sweatshirts his daughters painted for him when they were young and wore them daily.
While their mother provided the rough nuts and bolts of child-raising, Gary provided his daughters with warmth, love, affection and compassion. He had a particular sensitivity to the feminine, took their worries straight to heart, and was protective of their wellbeing. He never dismissed their heartaches and was a great listener. Their fondest memories with him were the heart-to-hearts, long walks on Michigan trails, and early morning strolls on Florida coastlines. Other favorite activities were sunset walks on the beach, morel mushroom hunting, leisurely golf games, mock-competitive games of tennis, and dining out at fine restaurants. They also sang along to Top 40 hits in the car: James Taylor, Steely Dan, The Little River Band and the Beatles were favorites.
Gary was hip to political landscapes and news of the world, and was a cultured individual. He had a quick mind and an ability to remember vast amounts of detailed information. His daughter's fondest memory was Gary teaching her about rocks and minerals. She'd bring him rocks as a child, and he'd detail for her their proper names as well as their formation. He possessed encyclopedic knowledge of some subjects and his daughters were proud of his intelligence.
Gary was especially sensitive to those with disabilities, having physical problems himself. Gary endured constant pain and other health problems. He had a disfigured, humped spine (kephosis and scoliosis) and compromised health because of it. He was teased often throughout life because of this, even into his later years, which hurt him deeply. He also suffered from heavy-metal toxicity, picked up generationally and from early living and working conditions. He was mislabeled as an alcoholic, which prevented him from getting proper treatment. Gary was persecuted by some people in his small town, but he was stoic in his suffering and did not impose it on anyone else. He dealt with it the best he knew how, since proper diagnosis and treatment wasn't available at the time.
In the 90s Gary moved to warmer climes in Florida, feeling he lacked the simplistic mindset necessary to live in small-town Boyne City, as well as the hardy physiology needed to survive the harsh winters.
Gary was an example to many, and taught his children life's most important lessons. He taught them to believe peoples' actions over their word, and to take everything with a grain of salt. He stressed the importance of research and checking facts, references and resources. He demonstrated being straightforward and to the point when dealing with others. He understood life at its deepest level and people at their shallowest, and wasn't duped by the fantasy of religion.
Those who will miss him most are his friends from Boyne City, who admired him, emulated him, and spoke of him often after his move to Florida, including the Karkosak family, Pauline Archambault and Susanne Johnson. They and many others looked up to him and saw him as many of us do: as a beacon of intelligence, self-honesty and courage.