John Winnett ‘really cared about the city’

2012-12-28T23:24:00Z John Winnett ‘really cared about the city’By SAMANTHA BILHARZ, JG-TC Staff Writer
December 28, 2012 11:24 pm  • 

CHARLESTON — Friends and co-workers of former Charleston City Council member John Winnett said they will always remember him as a hard worker with a great sense of humor.

Winnett, 75, passed away Tuesday from natural causes, according to a representative at the Caudill-King Funeral Home in Charleston. Funeral services for Winnett were held Friday.

The Charleston native joined the city council in 1977 and completed his final council member term in 2005 after 28 years of service.

Winnett, who also owned Winnett Consultant Plumbing & Heating Supplies in Charleston for almost 50 years, served seven four-year terms on the Charleston City Council and his tenure spanned five mayors.

Charleston Street Superintendent Quincy Combs, who worked with Winnett said Winnett was always there to help Charleston residents in any way he could.

“John was the kind of council member who really cared about the city of Charleston,” Combs said. “It wasn’t just about town projects for him, it was more about the people.”

Combs said Winnett always tried to look out for residents on the north side of town and was their biggest advocate. He did this by trying to make sure the north side got their share of street improvements and other infrastructure work.

“He was always a big supporter of people on the north side of town and was always there to take care of them,” Combs said. “He was always a good council member to work with.”

Winnett was also influential in getting streets paved north of Madison Avenue and getting Edgar Drive put in, according to Combs.

With all the city council work aside, Combs said he will remember Winnett the most for being a good friend.

“John was a good person,” Combs said. “He always had a smile on his face and a joke to tell.”

Combs said his favorite memories of Winnett was when they would go mushroom hunting and fishing.

“He would always go the extra mile to make sure people where taken care of,” Combs said. “He was just an all around good guy.”

Charleston City Council member Larry Rennels worked with Winnett for eight years on the council and he said Winnett was a hard worker and was always there to crack a joke or two.

“John was always the light hearted one who always had a joke to tell and a good comment to make,” Rennels said. “He was also a hard worker, who took his job very seriously.”

Winnett was very dedicated as a council member and Rennels said he could always be counted on.

In 2005 Winnett lost re-election, but during his 28 years of service on city council he played an active role in city government.

Rennels said he also considered Winnett more of a friend then a co-worker.

“Mostly I will miss his smile, laugh and sense of humor,” Rennels said.

Contact Bilharz at or 217-238-6839.

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