Gerald C. “Jerry” Winters

Jerry WintersAge 98, passed away February 10, 2024.  He was born April 19, 1925, in Owosso, Michigan, to Andrew and Clara Winters.  Jerry served his country in WWII in the South Pacific as a U.S. Marine.  He graduated from Michigan State University with a Master’s degree in Music, working in the automobile industry while getting his education.  In 1952, he began his career as the band director at Holt Schools, retiring in 1986.  Jerry was passionate about music and played in the Lansing Symphony as well as several jazz bands.  He had played for Holiday on Ice, the circus and on the Mississippi Queen River Boat.  Jerry loved spending time with his family and also enjoyed golf, antique car shows, civil war books, trains and baseball.

Gerald was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret in 1999; and by his brother, Bev Winters.  He is survived by daughter, Melissa Winters; son, Gerald (Lisa) Winters; grandchildren, Michael (Alisha) Hefty and Nicholas (Micah) Hefty; great-grandchildren, Trevon Johnson, Cidney Nicholson, Lucas Hefty and Brayden Hefty.

The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, February 20, 2024, at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, 955 Alton Rd., East Lansing.  Interment will follow in Maple Ridge Cemetery in Holt, at 1:30 p.m.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the charity of one’s choice in memory of Gerald Winters.

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50 Messages to “Gerald C. “Jerry” Winters

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Jerri Baisel
February 10, 2024 at 7:06 pm

I am so sad, he was a wonderful person and loved being in his band for 8 years. Our thoughts go out to you Melissa and all your family.

Lynda Crisler-Simpson
February 11, 2024 at 8:51 am

What a sweet sweet man. What a blessed life. I always loved visiting Mr. Winters. He was guaranteed to talk about our high school softball years, and who doesn’t want to relive the glory days!

Peace to you and your family, Melissa.

Dick Fitzgerald
February 11, 2024 at 10:06 am

Jerry and Margaret were my next door neighbors for several decades. I loved spending time with Jerry and listen particularly to his early days living in the Owosso area. Jerry was a great teacher and neighbor but most of all a kind and caring friend

Carol Deady
February 11, 2024 at 11:42 am

He was a wonderful teacher instilling the love of music in every student plus many others. May he rest in peace.

Sue (Fuller) Palmer
February 11, 2024 at 1:47 pm

I never have known a man more kind than Jerry. It was a great honor to know him. He was a great band teacher/mentor to me. Besides the Holt bands, he took me with him to Youth Music at Michigan State University. He reinforced my love for music. In recent years, I reconnected with him through Christmas cards. I looked forward to hearing from him, never knowing when the cards would stop coming. My thoughts and prayers are with his family during this sad time.

Tom Spencer
February 11, 2024 at 2:24 pm

Mr. Winters, it was an honor to have you as my band director!!! I learned so very much about music & life from you. You were a soft spoken gentleman who truly loved his craft and all things surrounding music. Still to this day I think of you and tell the stories of when we were sharing the same place on this rock. You made a difference, you still make a difference, and you were unique. God Bless you and your family. Now you and Mike M. can jam again in the heavens!!! Tom Spencer, the crazy trumpet player Holt graduated of1985.

Margo Dart Lehmann
February 11, 2024 at 3:07 pm

So sorry to hear about Mr. Winter’s passing. He was a wonderful educator who was also dedicated to his wife, Margaret, and his children. Sympathy to Melissa, Jerry and their families.

Gary Shrewsbury
February 11, 2024 at 3:09 pm

Mr. Winters was my band teacher and director for my years at Holt High School. I played percussion and graduated in the mid-70’s, which would have been a trying time for any instructor in any High School. Mr. Winters showed me much more grace and patience than I deserved. All fond memories. Rest in Peace, Mr. Winters.

Lori Watson Merritt
February 11, 2024 at 3:54 pm

Mr. Winters was my neighbor and my teacher. He was so kind, gentle, talented and genuine. I admired and respected him.

Jeanne Hartsuff
February 11, 2024 at 4:11 pm

Oh Melissa. I’m so sorry to hear of this. He was a great man who contributed more to his community and helped so many. I know you and your family will miss him. We are praying for you and your family as you grieve the loss of your father.

Joyce Sample-Franco
February 11, 2024 at 4:33 pm

I am so very saddened by this news he was such a wonderful man I always think of him and actually I was just in the neighborhood and went by the house and reminisced about him, when I worked at l&l he would always come in there and we would chit chat about so many things he was always so kind and I loved Halloween at his house I used to get so scared so many fond memories and my dad thought highly of him there’s just nothing bad to say about Mr Winters he was a kind loving man and he sure is going to be missed

Jacob McCormick
February 11, 2024 at 4:58 pm

So sorry to hear about the passing of Mr. Winters. I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing him several years ago about the history of Holt Bands for a history I was writing. As a member of the SMB at the time, we also connected about the history of the Michigan State Band and Leonard Falcone during our talk. He left an immense impact on the community, and on me in that one visit. Extending sincere condolences and thoughts to the Winters family.

Steve Lubbers
February 11, 2024 at 5:15 pm

So sorry. He was always so kind.

Kathleen E Ball
February 11, 2024 at 5:22 pm

My father, Ron Allen, and Mr. Winters were such good friends during their time teaching at Holt. They had this running joke between them that went for years. There was a magazine ad for podiums with a pompous, arrogant man conducting and they would secretly hide that ad where the other would least expect it. It would show up in dad’s piano bench or in sheet music that he would play from during a concert, in his briefcase and on and on. The funny thing was that neither of them ever said a word to the other about it. They both shared that sense of humor. I think of Mr. Winters and Holt High School Band as one and the same. He was a fine teacher and a good human being. Our condolences to his family!

Theresa Doerr
February 11, 2024 at 5:38 pm

It has been many years since I have seen him but he always has a place in my heart. Such a great family. Melissa, Michael and Nick he will live on in all of you in your hearts and memories

Anne Richmond Dunn
February 11, 2024 at 6:21 pm

Mr. Winters was the best teacher. I learned so much from him about music and kindness and believing in yourself. I became a band teacher because of him. I’m so sorry to hear of his passing. Rest in peace always.

Mary Ann Magill
February 11, 2024 at 6:28 pm

Mr. Winters had a profound impact as a musician, an educator and a gentleman. His professionalism and dedication to his students served as a model for all educators. I remember his calm, respectful demeanor and infinite patience. He also had a wonderful sense of humor. His encouragement and kindness made a big difference in my life. As a music educator myself, I can only strive to be the kind of teacher and person he was. Mary Ann Dombroske, class of 1983

Diane Jarrad Pizzo
February 11, 2024 at 6:35 pm

What a great person he was! I leader music from him- what a gift that was.

Tom Butler
February 11, 2024 at 6:39 pm

He was a great teacher and a fine man who changed my life for the better. I feel very fortunate to have known him and I am very sorry to hear that he is gone.

James R Spalding
February 11, 2024 at 7:29 pm

Mr. Winters was a very kind man and a dedicated teacher. Everyone who knew him is a little better for the experience.

Jim Butler
February 11, 2024 at 8:02 pm

After my parents, Mr. Winters was the greatest influence on my life. He was unfailingly kind and very careful to avoid saying anything negative about anyone. One of the most enriching things in my adult life has been to maintain a relationship with him for the past few decades. It was a privilege to graduate from being a student to becoming his friend. His knowledge of music was encyclopedic and we could talk about it at great length. His mind was sharp until the end, and I greatly appreciated all that he taught me during my years in Holt and long afterward.

I called him on the phone last week to ask about visiting him. He said he was not feeling well and it would be best for me not to come. It didn’t occur to me that our conversation that day would be our last – at least in this world. How I look forward to seeing him again.

May God bless you, Mr. Winters, with His best.

Linda Porath
February 11, 2024 at 8:12 pm

Mr. Winters was an outstanding band director and my favorite teacher! So kind and always smiling. He made such an impact on my life, as I know he did for so many others.

Douglas Morrison
February 11, 2024 at 8:58 pm

Mr. Winters was one of a kind, as fine a man as he was a musician. He was the greatest influence on my life, and I owe my career in music to his encouragement and enthusiasm. For thirty years I carried a pair of his cuff links that he gave me for graduation every time I conducted. I learned from him that perfection is nice, but musicality is even better. The world is now a less musical place without him.

Pat Brown
February 11, 2024 at 10:54 pm

So sorry to hear of Mr Winters passing. I played in band for 7 years and had so many great memories performing for Jerry Winters. Mr Winters had a mild way of getting g the best performance for “his” kids without so much as raising his voice. From our Marching Band, Band Day at MSU, parades, State Competitions, and record productions, we always wanted to perform our best for our Leader. I still have our 2 record albums produced in 64 and 65 that I occasionally play and reminisce about the great times we had. Semper Fi Mr Winters.

Don Hadwin
February 11, 2024 at 11:49 pm

Mr. Winters was an amazingly wonderful musician, conductor, teacher and human being. Of all the teachers I have had from kindergarten through my PhD, nobody had as much positive influence on my life as Mr. Winters. He took me two times to concerts at MSU, the Cincinnati Symphony and the Vienna Symphony Orchestras. Once a woman sitting next to us used these delicate operetta glasses, and Mr. Winters pulled out a pair of WWII field glasses to watch the performance. We spent hours after school talking about life and listening to funny music like Guckenheimer’s Sauerkraut Band. He especially enjoyed looking at the faces of musicians who made a mistake. When I had a run-in with an English teacher all of my other teachers pressured me to apologize, but Mr. Winters said it was my business, even though that teacher defended him once at a faculty meeting. I will always love and respect him.

Michelle Mullin
February 12, 2024 at 10:26 am

Mr. Winters was my first band teacher. He taught me with kindness and patience. He gave me a love of music and I am forever grateful. Praying for his family and friends.

Jon P Nichols
February 12, 2024 at 10:40 am

While I did not play under Mr. Winters’ direction, I knew of his work and heard his groups through my friends Tom and Jim Butler. Additionally, I played with him in the Lansing Symphony during my undergraduate years at MSU. I can recall Mr. Winters taking an entire Saturday afternoon to assist me, as a young director, select band instruments to purchase for Alpena High School during my time as its director. Everything he suggested was purchased and his act of support made me very appreciative of what this man knew and was willing to impart.

Gerald Winters was part of a triumvirate of directors from Okemos (Don Mueller), Mason (George Murthum), and Holt who always got along and socialized with their wives. Mr. Mueller was my first band director and always spoke highly both of them. All are gone now and we all who knew them are better off because they passed our way.

Anne Hope
February 12, 2024 at 11:30 am

Ron and I were so lucky to have Gerry as a neighbor and friend for many years. His kindness, thoughtfulness and dry sense of humor made him a delight to be around. We loved his stories, like the one about canoeing the Red Cedar with Margaret, or the one where he brought a misbehaving kid home from school, and made the kid sit on the sofa and wait for Gerry to have his lunch!
He was truly one of the finest human beings we have ever known. Our condolences to all his family, and we hope your memories of Gerry will be a comfort to you.

Bonnie Lay
February 12, 2024 at 2:46 pm

I Am sorry To Hear The Passing Of Mr.Winters I was In The Choir but I Still remember him well,For My Dad Geoge Lay,was A Teacher at Holt Public Schools at The Time,I had A Brother and Sister that were In Band,at The time.

Sincerely yours,

Bonnie L.Lay.

NIna Whitehill
February 12, 2024 at 4:23 pm

Jerry was my band teacher from 6th grade on through Holt High School. I loved playing in the band and loved being a part of the marching band. Jerry was also my neighbor and friend for many years. I loved going over to his house and talking with him. He is such an interesting person to visit with and his mind was always sharp. I liked to take dinners over to him and of course I loved it when he said I was a great cook! Sometimes he would go out to breakfast with my Dad and I.
Jerry never complained about anything, even when his sight was deteriorating.
The last time I saw him, I called him to see if I could stop over to visit. He said he had moved into a care facility in Okemos. I went to there to visit him and we had a nice chat.
I am so sorry I did not get back to see him again. I will always admire Jerry for being a great band director and a kind, loving person. As I read the comments I see that he touched many people in many positive ways. Jerry I will miss you! Hugs to Melissa , Jerry and the rest of the family.

Phil Baker
February 12, 2024 at 5:34 pm

I am deeply saddened of Mr. Winters’ passing. He was such a wonderful man. I cherish the time I was able to be in his band. I am blessed to have Mr. Winters as a great band director and mentor. Mr. Winters is the man who set me on my journey to become a band director, a position I have held for over thirty years. I hope Mr. Winters is now performing and conducting in that heavenly band!

Kathy Glisson
February 12, 2024 at 6:03 pm

I was not in band, but as a student at Holt Public Schools I knew of him. I recently got to know Melissa and enjoyed the stories she told about her dad. She truly loved and respected him. My condolences to Melissa and the Winters family. I like to think, your loss is Heavens gain.

James Hartley
February 13, 2024 at 10:27 am

Donated in memory of Gerry Winters to the KIND scholarship fund. What a great guy uncle Jerry was.

Mary Smith
February 13, 2024 at 9:59 pm

My Mom, Dee( Dorothy) went to high school with your Mom, and was part of the May Reunion group through the years. She spoke highly of your Dad. He was always very kind to her and the group. I recall meeting him a few times and he was very personable and gracious. It is difficult to lose a parent, even when they have lived a good, long life. May he rest in peace.

Joan Bauer
February 14, 2024 at 7:02 am

I have so many positive memories of Jerry Winters. Though I never had him as a teacher, Jerry and Margaret were neighbors when I was growing up and were good friends of my parents. He was such a kind and gracious gentleman..a truly good man. The many comments reflect the tremendous impact Jerry made as a teacher and human being. He will live on through the legacy he has left in the music world and Holt community.

Kathy Beown
February 14, 2024 at 9:12 am

So sorry, your Dad was a great man and will be deeply missed! Praying for you!!

Lori L Tune-Whyte
February 14, 2024 at 10:04 am

We were lucky to have Mr. Winters added to our family when his son Jerry married my sister Lisa. His fascinating stories were the highlight of many holidays. But I always thought his special talent was the way he cared about people and his listening skills. He was KIND, charming and just a downright wonderful person. He will be missed. Sending love to his family. Deepest condolences.

Camilla Myers
February 14, 2024 at 5:02 pm

Jerry’s Dad was a very special man. It was so fun to hear Mr. Winters and our Dad tell stories from their past. It was a honor to have known him. We donated in memory of Mr. Winters to the Capital Area Humane Society. Our condolences from Lisa’s family to Mr. Winters family.

Margaret Arntz Gubry
February 14, 2024 at 11:11 pm

So sorry to hear about Mr Winters, he was such a special person. I had him for band from the fifth grade through twelfth and loved every minute of it. My children Marjie, Kathy, and Ron also had him for an instructor in band. I remember him living in a small house on Park Lane for a time and he was a favorite neighbor of everyone. Mr Winters will be missed by many.

Michael Emerson
February 15, 2024 at 6:28 am

My name is Mike Emerson, and I’m the band director at Holt High School currently. I’m very sorry that I never got to meet Jerry in person, but I can assure the family that his legacy lives on here in the rehearsal hall at Holt High School. There are historical photos, plaques, and other items that display his ‘fingerprints’ all over the program.

Deepest condolences to the family. I wish I could be there in person but I’m going to be out of town on the 20th.

Thank you so much, Mr. Winters, for your amazing service to Holt Public Schools and music education. I consider myself truly blessed to be benefitting from all your hard work. All the seeds and seedlings planted during your tenure here are bearing much fruit. You are not forgotten.

Cathryn Lovewell Mooney
February 16, 2024 at 9:27 am

Mr Winters was a wonderful band teacher. He has joined Tim Parry in heaven who was also an amazing teacher.

Carol (Kirkeeng) Pleune
February 16, 2024 at 11:08 pm

“ Now band, Measure 47, Count 1… Be there or Be Square.” Or how about “‘Tweet Tweet Tweet CHAIR”. I wonder how many kid’s lives he influenced. He was so kind. And what a treat when he played for us. There must be a great concert going on in heaven.

My condolences to the family.

Sharon Lenon
February 17, 2024 at 3:49 pm

He was loved.

Dennis Beland
February 18, 2024 at 5:21 pm

Sorry to hear that Jerry died. He was a great teacher and band director. I had him from 6th grade thru 12th.

Randy Wolfe
February 19, 2024 at 10:17 am

Mr Winters was my band teacher from 7th grade thru 12th, I always enjoyed and looked up to his musical mentoring very much! I was glad I got to visit him a few times a couple of years ago. He was a great man.My thoughts go out to Jerry and Melissa.

Jeffrey Kressler
February 19, 2024 at 5:15 pm

I student taught under Jerry. He was a great teacher, musician and friend! He also had a wonderful sense of humor. He will be missed…

Jeff Marks
February 19, 2024 at 5:52 pm

As a student of Mr Winters from 8th thru 12th grades I gained a deep appreciation for his skill as a teacher, director, and as a person. He was a quiet, gentle, yet determined man. I was fortunate to encounter a side of him almost none of his students ever got to see.

My step father was a jazz musician, playing around the Lansing area, and played many jobs with Mr Winters, who was a first class jazz trombonist. We hosted jam sessions at our house periodically and Gerry and Marge Winters never missed one. He had a great sense of humor and loved the camaraderie of the musical community.

Jerry and Melissa your dad touched so many lives in such a positive way. I pray God will comfort you as you mourn and celebrate the life of a wonderful man so many of us are privileged to have known.

Bill Havens
February 20, 2024 at 9:48 am

Mr. Winters was my neighbor growing up and he had such a profound influence on the students and people he met! Although I didn’t get to know him as a teacher. I saw first hand through my sister Nina and my brother Rick, how he influenced and motivated them. They loved being in band and also in the marching band at Holt High School and Jerry was the reason for that. My brother Rick loved Jerry and had a great admiration for his musical knowledge and went on to play music the remainder of his adult life. From the Crane & Havens days back in the early 70’s to playing bluegrass music in Arizona in the 90’s.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Jerry, Melissa and family.

Anne and Peter Kressler
February 20, 2024 at 12:26 pm

A very respected colleague…a very effective teacher…a good man…and an excellent trombonist !!

Jennifer Combs/Cady
March 17, 2024 at 12:19 pm

Winters “tribe”
I was just sitting here watching the Saint Patrick’s Day parade live from Dublin, and, as usual I always think of (Margaret/Mrs. Winters) on Saint Patrick’s Day, as I believe it was her favorite.

And that thought of course sparked me to think of, (Jerry/Mr. Winters), and then I found his obituary. And being one of the youngest of the Jeanne and Hall Street gang, I so fondly remember the Halloween’s we would have in our neighborhood and the most exquisitely awesome display and treats that Jerry Winters would have at his house every year on Halloween. The bond our neighborhood shared brings tears to my eyes.
At every one of the concerts I went to as a child, to hear the band as my brother was in it, as was my sister, Margaret would come out and check on my mom and dad and me to see if I had fallen asleep yet. I guess the music that Jerry directed and taught, was very peaceful to me because yes I would fall asleep at every concert. The memories I have, our Little treasures to me. Thanks Jerry


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