Donald Esley Winne, 92, of Three Rivers, died at 6:59 p.m., Aug. 3, 2010 at Elkhart Rehabilitation Center.
Don was born in Bangor on Aug. 7, 1917 to Jesse Earl and Mabel (Kirby) Winne, graduated from Bloomingdale High School, went to college at Ball State and Western Michigan, and finished his college work at Taylor University.
Don married Margaret E. Montgomery of Daleville, Ind. on June 8, 1941. In 1942, Don was ordained as a Baptist minister. He started his career as an educator and school teacher at Elkhart Public Schools in 1945. Don remained in the Elkhart Public School System for over 30 years. During that time, he taught biology and social studies at Elkhart Central High School, and in 1957 he became principal of the new West Side Junior High School in Elkhart, Ind. Following that, Don was assistant principal at Elkhart Central High School until Elkhart Memorial High School was built where Don was assistant principal until he ended his career in education in 1977 and retired.
In 1978, Don began a new “career” as an environmentalist and Michigan state-wide advocator of riparian rights. Don and Margaret bought their home on Corey Lake in Three Rivers in 1963 and moved there permanently in 1977. Don loved Corey Lake and became intensely interested in riparian rights and the wise management of Michigan’s natural water resources. He became a renowned expert in riparian rights. Don began working with Michigan Lakes and Streams Associations in 1974 as the southwestern Michigan regional vice-president. He was the ML&SA executive secretary from 1978-1979. In 1980, he became the Executive Director of the ML&SA. In 1974, Don was appointed to the Board of Directors of The Michigan Riparian, a flagship publication of the ML&SA. He served as the Editor and Publisher of the Riparian from 1974 until 2008. Through his efforts he expanded the subscriptions from several hundred to over 15,000 and heightened the State’s overall awareness of water quality issues and the need for improved protection of the State’s natural resources. For his efforts, he earned state recognition and was awarded a Certificate of Tribute by Governor Jennifer M. Granholm in 2007.
Don was an avid reader and was always active in politics, but he somehow found time for his other passions: hunting, fishing, photography and family. Don was a member of the Tyrian Masonic Lodge #718 and the Elkhart Noon Exchange Club.
Don is survived by his two sons, Jonathon (Barb) Winne of Elkhart, Ind. and Brian (Teri) Winne of Hickory Corners; a daughter, Laura Jean (Don) Tavernier of Elkhart, Ind.; 11 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; a sister, Helen (Col. Vern) Wickman of Woodbridge, Va. He was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret; two brothers; a sister.
Friends may call from 4-8 p.m. Thursday at Stemm-Lawson-Peterson Funeral Home at Cobblestone Crossing, Elkhart, Ind. where services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday. Dr. William Hemmig will officiate. Entombment will follow at Chapel of Peace Mausoleum, Rice Cemetery.