Jan. 4, 1933 – Oct. 12, 2012
George M. Winter Sr., a heavy-equipment operator and former proprietor of the Winter Haven Tavern in East Eden, died Friday in his Orchard Park home after a long illness. He was 79.
Born in Eden, the youngest of seven children, he developed a lifelong work ethic as a boy on his father’s 200-acre farm.
A graduate of Eden Senior High School, he bought the family farm with one of his brothers when he was 18.
Mr. Winter joined Local 17 as a heavy-equipment operator in 1967 and worked on numerous highway projects, including the Route 17 Expressway on the Southern Tier. He ran machinery within sight of his family’s old gray barn in 1974, building the Route 219 Expressway, which ran through his farm. He retired from union work in 1998.
In retirement, he continued running bulldozers and excavators, digging more than 100 ponds. He also had his own sawmill and enjoyed hunting, fishing, shooting pool and breeding hunting dogs, German shorthaired pointers.
In 1976, he ventured into the bar and restaurant business, buying the Winter Haven Tavern on Keller Road in East Eden. He operated it for 10 years with his ex-wife, the former Sharon Littlefield, and his children, and for another 15 years with his daughter, Sandra.
Other survivors include three sons, Lee, Paul and George; a daughter, Susan Adcock; a brother, Gilbert; and a sister, June Bowman.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Friday in Epiphany of Our Lord Catholic Church, 10893 Sisson Highway, North Collins.