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Thread: Winnie Winston, R.I.P.

  1. #1


    Some of you may be familiar with the name Winnie Winston. Winnie was once national banjo champion, and played with Bill Monroe for a while. He also played pedal steel (which is how I know him) and in fact wrote the book I learned from.

    Winnie passed away yesterday, from prostate cancer.

    Winnie and I met in 1984 and discovered we had many things in common besides the pedal steel. Over the years we became very close friends, and he visited me in L.A. several times.

    He was first diagnosed with cancer 6 or 7 years ago. He didn't want a lot of people to know. I was one of the few people he told.

    Winnie weighed the options, and decided not to seek treatment, but to let the disease run it's course, and spend his remaining years traveling around the world. he was especially thrilled to go to Egypt and see the pyramids.

    He probably would still be alive today if he had chosen to undergo the surgery and chemotherapy, but this is what he wanted. He lived and died on his own terms.

    R.I.P. old friend.

  2. #2
    Paul Wheeler
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    138 Packard Rd, Jericho Vt 05465


    Sad news indeed. I didn't know he'd been a national champion, but it's not surprising -- he really could make the banjo sing, as witness his playing on many of the "Early Dawg" cuts, and some of David Bromberg ("New Lee Highway Blues" comes to mind). He very patiently walked me through the chord changes to "Little Rock Getaway" sometime back in the 1970s, after putting on a terrific show as part of a series "Lightning Ridge Concerts" produced by his brother Rick in the Montpelier VT area. -- Paul
    He joyously felt himself idling, an unreflective mood in which water was water, sky was sky, breeze was breeze. He knew it couldn't last. -- Thomas McGuane, "Nothing but Blue Skies"

  3. #3
    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    I remember so vivid how great he was on the banjo in the mid60's at the Union Grove World Championship Fiddler's Convention in North Carolina of which he won a few years along with his group the New York Ramblers which featured a yound David Grisman on mandolin. Grisman was playing a 50's F12 back then. Winnie held his banjo was such grace and could cut it with the best of them.

  4. #4
    Modulator ;) PhilGE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Northern IN
    Blog Entries


    There was some news of his passing, courtesy of his brother, Rick, on the newsgroup. He posted a link to Winnie's personal website. Here's a link to Winnie's banjo history.


  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    N. Central, TX


    Winnie's pedal steel instuction book was key in my learning to play the instrument. That would have been back in the mid 70's.

    I wore out that little "record" that came in the book.

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