Washington Evening Journal
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Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 22, 2017

Winga remembered by friends and customers

By Xiomara Levsen | Aug 02, 2017
John Winga

 

 

Tuesday morning, members of the Washington coffee club were remembering their friend John Winga.

Winga passed away July 30 after an illness.

He was known to many from his time running his family owned cafe called Winga’s Cafe.

Carl Dallmeyer remembers he started going to coffee club at Winga’s Cafe in 1946, he said. Dallmeyer would also eat regularly at the cafe.

“We always had Sunday dinner there,” Dallmeyer said, “and he would be stocked up on pies.”

In 2006, Winga’s Cafe closed. Dallmeyer decided to invite Winga to join the coffee club.

“When he closed his shop, he was in there one day working and Gina [Richardson] had her coffee shop right next door to him,” Dallmeyer said. “He came out and I said, ‘John I think you better come for coffee in the morning,’ and he did and he never missed a day when he was OK.”

Winga also started a new tradition. He would bring pies to the coffee club every June for his birthday.

“He was the best pie maker around,” Dallmeyer said.

Bob Kennedy was another person who frequented Winga’s Cafe.

“He used to talk about getting out of church early to beat the other church members [back to his cafe],” Kennedy said, “and there would be lines. You had booths in there where people could wait for tables to open up. It was a good place to eat.”

Kennedy said he would miss seeing him at coffee club.

Jim Gorham said Winga had the best pancakes around. He came to know John and his brothers in junior high and high school.

“They were always workers,” Gorham said. “When the junior high used to be down where the administration building is, they’d run up from there to go to work at noon and then [would] go back to school.”

Coffee at Winga’s Cafe only used to cost a nickel, and for anyone who had a birthday a flag would be hung up in the window, Dallmeyer said.

A registration book of over 7,000 signatures from Winga’s Cafe is at the library.

“I got him to take that book over to the library,” Gorham said. “People would go to coffee and they would get a stranger in there and then he’d come around with these tickets and would hand these tickets out. They would go through all this [talk] about the president and they would give their tickets to the new guy and he would buy coffee. At that time it was about a dime.”

Gorham said he would also miss seeing him at coffee club and said he was a really nice guy.

Winga also served on the board at Washington State Bank.

“I was on the board with him over there for 30-some odd years,” Dean Garrett said. “There’s an election every fiscal year there.”

Gina Richardson owned a business next door to Winga for a couple of years.

“We’d see each other every morning,” she said. “He’d go to work around 6 o’clock in the morning and I’d be coming to work a little bit before that. We’d cross paths and I’d say ‘hi.’ One time I ran out of coffee filters and had to go over and borrow coffee filters from him.”

The last day the cafe was open Richardson helped him.

“He was swamped and I happened to have some time where I was slow and I went over and helped him clear tables and just jumped in,” Richardson said. “I just thought, ‘You know he needed it.’ He was trying to talk to people and I could see it was a little overwhelming to him. It just felt good to go over and help him clean up tables and kind of get caught up, so he could enjoy talking to people. It was kind of neat.”

Winga began attending coffee club shortly after his restaurant club closed in 2006.

“He was always friendly and always had something nice to say,” Richardson said. “He was just a nice man and I’ll miss seeing his smiling face when he comes in.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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