John Mike Winn, 87, passed away on Saturday, April 23rd at Magnolia Manor Nursing Home in Spartanburg, under the care of hospice. He was born to parents John Mike Winn and Clara Peeples Winn on October 31, 1934 in Hampton County. Mike’s parents died when he was five years old, and his younger brother was three. Mike’s oldest brother, Joseph Mannie and his new bride, Debbie Olean, took the boys to raise. Mannie asked Debbie at the same time he proposed if he could bring his brothers home to raise, and Debbie said, “I wouldn’t take you without them.” They adopted the boys and became the boy’s mom and dad. Mannie and Debbie were never blessed with children of their own, but they loved the boys as if they were their own. They were the best parents, grandparents and great grandparents ever. This young Christian couple has touched so many lives and made such a difference in the boys and their family’s lives. Mike’s battle with serious medical issues in recent years showed his courage in facing life challenges with a smile. Despite the pain, Mike came out a hero and stayed strong until the end.
Mike met the love of his life, Mary Margret Tharpe, from Varnville at the Varnville swimming pool. They were married in 3 months at Varnville Baptist Church. He and Mary only had 1 daughter, Noran Winn Gahl, who later gave them two beautiful granddaughters, Amanda Blair Gault (Todd) of Spartanburg, South Carolina and Emily Ann Remsburg (Jeff) of Fairbanks, Alaska.
Mike’s granddaughters were the apple of his eye and he loved taking them places and showing them off. The granddaughters have wonderful memories of staying with their grandaddy and going on trips with him and Mary. Amanda gave her grandaddy two great grandchildren, Phoebe Sophia and Niven Ryan. Emily also gave him two great grandchildren, Jeffrey Harry and Ethan Syrus.
Mike retired from Westinghouse in 1991 and went on to work as front-end manager at Piggly Wiggly and later Food Lion. The customers and children loved “Mr. Mike” and looked forward to seeing him.
After retiring from Westinghouse, he found his happy place with the Shriners. Here he got to do the two things he loved most. He got to socialize with people, and he also got to help children through getting donations for the Shriners Hospital in Greenville, SC. Mike was known as Brother Noble “Mike” Winn as a dedicated and honorable Shriner of Omar Shrine Center and Shriners International, since November 7, 1986.
Mike and Mary participated in all of the activities and events in the Shriner unit and even traveled as part of the Potentate’s staff to many beautiful destinations. He had a wonderful personality and worked hard to raise money for the children’s hospital. Ric Piersal, a brother Shriner, said, “Mike could sell ice to an Eskimo.” Ric also said, “He led the way in sales; car sales award, car raffle award, newspaper sales award, and top candy bar salesman.” Nobel Mike Winn was the first Shriner to ever receive the Medal of Honor, 1 million dollars donated and the only Shriner to ever be awarded the Medal of Honor, 2 million dollars donated. He was also awarded the Dave Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award on two different occasions and the Walt Disney Award also on two different occasions. These are special distinctive awards that are chosen by the Potentate. Mike also received the Arnold Fields Lifetime Achievement award in March of 2009 and the James A. Moore Lifetime Achievement award both for raising funds for the burned and crippled children. He also was awarded Person of the Year Community Service Award by the Hampton County Chamber of Commerce in 2017 because he donated his time to help raise money for the Omar Temple and strived to make a difference in the Hampton County community.
Mike was loved by all the Shriners! He was a true servant to the Shrine children, fellow man, and humanity. He will always be honored and remembered.
In honor of Noble Mike Winn, the family asks that in lieu of flowers to please make a donation to the Shriners Hospital in Greenville, South Carolina. It takes over a million dollars a day to run the Shriners Hospital and it runs solely on the donations from the Shriners. They have the finest doctors in the country and it is available to children of all races, backgrounds and cultures.
A memorial service will be held 3 o’clock, Saturday afternoon, April 30, 2022 at Varnville First Baptist Church – Family Life Center.
ARRANGEMENTS BY: THE BRICE W. HERNDON AND SONS FUNERAL HOMES AND CREMATORY, VARNVILLE-HAMPTON CHAPEL, 1074 Yemassee Highway, Varnville. 803.943.5016. Visit the registry online at: www.briceherndonfuneralhome.com.