John Francis “Jack” Winnen

Class of 1964

In Memoriam

Below is the death notice of John "Jack" Winnen, Class of 1964. Brother of Peter Winnen, Class of 1962 and Neil Winnen, Class of 1967. Please keep the Winnen family in your prayers.

Jack Winnen • 1946-2024

Legend has it that Jack Winnen entered this world with a pencil on his ear and whistling to the tune of "Whiskey in a Bottle." Upon seeing the shocked expressions of the medical staff, he said in a mock Irish brogue, "So a Catholic and Episcopalian walk into a bar..."

All who knew Jack remember his humor; those who knew him well cherished him for his kindness, empathy, and eagerness to help wherever he could. John "Jack" Francis Winnen passed away in McMinnville, Oregon, on March 11, 2024. He was born 77 years earlier on August 10th, 1946, in Lakewood, Ohio, to parents John W. and Helen (McKenna) Winnen into a family that eventually numbered nine children. Jack attended St. Edward High School in Lakewood and, after graduation, supported himself as a machine tool salesman then real estate broker. He became proficient in construction trades, first as a carpenter, then as the multi-talented craftsman his many friends recall. Those who worked with him, and those he worked for, remember Jack as one who made work fun, often commenting, tongue-in-cheek, "I'll get your project right if it takes every dime you've got!"

He married Sandra Richardson Ricker in 1972. Early in the marriage they befriended a young Coast Guardsman from Juneau stationed on Lake Erie, who regaled them with endless tales of Southeast Alaska. Taking the bait, Jack and Sandy (pregnant with Jarod) drove 3200 miles from Cleveland to Prince Rupert- an adventure the car barely survived - and from there to Juneau aboard an Alaska Marine Highway ferry.
In Juneau, Jack supported his young family working for a local moving and storage company, a period that included a stint on the Alaska Pipeline. In 1976, the family moved back to Cleveland for long enough to miss Juneau, prompting a return in 1983 with their three sons Jarod, Schyler, and Jesse.

During his adult life he fought one cunning adversary: alcohol. This first brought him to his knees then to the recovery meetings where he found the love and compassion of countless struggling addicts. Through the difficult work of honesty and self-reflection, he emerged on the other side with deeper connections as a wonderful father and friend. By then, he and Sandy had gone their separate ways, although they remained loving friends and co-parents to the end.

One of the many friends he made in recovery remembered that Jack "helped me more than he could know, lighting up meetings, laughing through the sorrow, loving us through the foibles of human existence."
A niece recalled Jack as larger than life: "No one held space like him - not because he took it up, but because he created more for everyone through the warmth of his presence."
He is remembered by his family and friends as a garish decorator of trucks, excessive florist, and connoisseur of potpourri.

His big, full life will be forever remembered by those who survive him: Jarod (Nicole), Schyler (Alexis), and Jesse Winnen; his grandchildren Connor, Sydney, Casey, Jacks, Paxton, Kaylor, and Augustus; siblings Peter (Barb) Winnen, Lucia (Tom) May, Neil Winnen, Chad (Marcia) Winnen, Marian (James) Pence, Bart (Hope) Winnen, and Paul (Pam) Winnen; his former wife Sandy and his (Jack's phrase) "husband-in-law" Peter Metcalfe; his Ricker in-laws Scott, Marc, Kurt, Tracey, Michele, and Christopher; many nieces and nephews; and countless friends.

In the hereafter, he joins his parents, his sister Martha Ferguson, brother-in-law Carl Ferguson, niece Lauren Winnen, and nephew Drew Ferguson; and from his journey of sobriety many sponsors, "sponsees," and dear friends.

A memorial will be held in Juneau during the coming summer - time and place to be announce

Posted on: March 27, 2024

You can view a list of all St. Ed's Alumni who have passed away on our website.

John Francis “Jack” Winnen

Make a Gift in Honor of John Francis “Jack” Winnen

St. Edward High School is humbled by the generosity expressed by our community. Commemorative gifts enable us to empower our students with the knowledge, skills, and Holy Cross values to grow into Christ-like servant leaders. To make a memorial gift, click below.

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