Edward “Ed” Clarence Winchell
Edward “Ed” Clarence Winchell, age 80, died suddenly on January 4, 2021, in St. Mary’s Hospital, Amsterdam, NY, from complications related to COVID-19. Ed was also managing – with support from NYOH-Amsterdam, family and countless friends – stage 4 prostate cancer which likely made him more vulnerable to the virus.
Ed, the youngest son of Anna and the Rev. Clarence Winchell, was born on June 14, 1940, “at the church,” in the parsonage of the Grace Methodist Church, just west of the four corners in Speculator, NY, making him one of the few genuine 20th-century natives of the village. Some have speculated (with a smile on their face) the location of his birth may have imbued him with the qualities that, though perhaps not wholly apparent in his youth, exemplified his later years – Ed was a very good guy.
Though the Winchell family maintained a summer place in Lake Pleasant throughout Ed’s childhood, his father was obligated to serve a new church parish every three years on a circuit of several small towns in upstate New York. Ed graduated from Salem Washington Academy, Salem, NY in 1959 and attended one semester at Syracuse University before joining the Air Force in 1960, where he served as a Cartographer Specialist. He returned to Speculator upon his release from active duty in 1962 and married Shirley Andrews Stuart after four months of courtship. (He remained in the reserves until his honorable discharge in 1966). The couple had three children before divorcing in 1977; Ed remained happily single for the rest of his life.
Ed worked over six decades and had a variety of occupations and professional interests. He operated a gas station; sold snowmobiles, outboard engines, and chainsaws, and was a small-motors mechanic as well; drove tractor trailers — long and short haul; operated heavy equipment; served as mayor of Speculator (the manhunt for serial killer Robert Garrow occurred during his tenure) and was a tax assessor for the town of Lake Pleasant. Ed was last employed as an agent for Alicia Miller Real Estate in Wells, NY, retiring in December 2019. He also held a number of volunteer positions, serving most recently on the Hamilton County Soil and Water Board of Directors and as a town of Lake Pleasant firefighter, resigning from both in 2020, due to health reasons.
Fishing on his pontoon boat or in the deep sea, snowmobiling, as well as watching NACAR, NFL and horse racing were among his favorite activities, but eating breakfast at the Sunrise Diner in Speculator was Ed’s most committed avocation.
In addition to his parents, Ed was predeceased by his sister, Beverly Winchell Berube. He is survived by his older brother, Herbert Winchell of Socorro, NM; his children, Susan (Steve) Winchell of Hudson, NY, Roy (Cheryl) Winchell of Fellsmere, FL, and Barbara Bledsoe of San Jose, CA; seven nephews and one niece, Gary Berube of Ohio, Norman Berube of Florida, Diane Berube of Queensbury, Gene Berube of Ballston Spa and Jeff Berube of Clifton Park all of NY, Bryan Winchell of Bosque Farms, Kerry Winchell of Farmington, both of NM, and Dale Winchell of Poquoson, VA; and five beloved grandchildren, Mercedes, Spencer, Liam, Maciek and Oskar.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ed’s family will not be holding a memorial at this time. Ed’s life will be celebrated as he wished — with music, laughter and good food — when it is much safer for everybody.
Online condolences can be made to simplechoicescremation.com.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Ed’s memory may be made to the Speculator Ambulance Corps, the Lake Pleasant Volunteer Fire Department or the NYOH Community Cancer Foundation, which provides emergency support for cancer patients undergoing treatment (https://newyorkoncology.com/treatments-programs/supportive-care/nyoh-community-cancer-foundation/).