Charles Elliott Winship

The following obituary written by Judy Tripp-Neu will appear in the Genesee Country Express.  Click here for a poem inspired by Chuck.

ChuckCharles Elliott Winship, age 71, founder and CEO of Sugarbush Hollow Maple Syrup Farm on the east hill of Springwater died on Sunday evening, October 13, 2013 after a valiant battle with cancer. Chuck, as he was known by his many friends and neighbors, was born in the Salamanca area and began his love affair with maple syrup when he was 12 years old. With his Mom and Dad, his sister Nan and brother Bruce, the family would tap the maple trees that ran down the sides of Broad Street. It soon became a neighborhood enterprise with everyone gathering the sap and then boiling it down for hours to produce 40 or 50 gallons per year.

After high school, Winship went on to graduate with a degree from the University of Buffalo and subsequently went to work for the Xerox Corporation where he retired after a career that extended more than 30 years as a manager of engineering operations. During his tenure at Xerox he lived in the Fairport/Perinton area and served on the Recreation and Parks Committees for the Town of Perinton. He was highly regarded as a manager at Xerox and by the many people whose lives he touched in his community work.

IMG_0591_WebWinship left Xerox and went to Cornell University to obtain his master’s degree in Natural Resources specializing in the business of maple syrup and value added maple products. His desire to learn as much as possible about the production, marketing, and distribution of maple syrup and related products allowed him to be well-prepared for founding Sugarbush Hollow. Once he found and purchased the sugar bush in the little Fingerlakes area, he began the lengthy process of clearing it, and studying every inch of the property, the trees, and the effects of the seasons on the production of the final products. His philosophy was “if you build it, they will come,” and soon after he built the sap house, people did indeed come. Neighbors, friends, and family all came and pitched in and made the business successful.

Winship was generous with donating his syrup to local agencies including the Springwater American Legion Post 905, the Springwater Fire Department, and several churches hosting breakfast fundraisers. He relied on “word of mouth” advertising and for the most part, was quite successful in that strategy. He was a real stickler for taste and color and preferred to rely solely on what appealed to him claiming it was the ethical way to operate. A lifelong learner, Winship also provided information to the Cornell community and to the Maple Growers Association on his observations and experiments. He was generous with his knowledge and always willing to share his experiences with others.

Winship was also very devoted to his community and opened the Sugarbush Hollow facilities to fundraisers for the annual Springwater GALA breakfasts during the maple weekends, the Springwater Trails group and to the Fiddler’s Fair held every year in September. School children visited often and tours were given with Winship patiently explaining the whole process of producing maple syrup to the visitors. Even as his health waned, he never complained and still enjoyed the many visitors that came to see his beloved sugar bush, walk the trails and delight in the natural beauty of the area.

He is survived by his two children: son John (Catherine) Winship and daughter, Dori Robert) Hopkins, the mother of his children Joyce Winship and seven beloved grandchildren; his beloved friend and companion, Pam Masterson, his brother Bruce and sister Nan (Ron) Miller, two nieces and two nephews. All of the family continues Chuck’s work at Sugarbush Hollow, and his many friends and neighbors will carry on his legacy.

Friends paid their respects at the Richard H. Keenan Funeral Home, Pittsford Palmyra Rd., Fairport (Egypt Location) on Thursday, October 17, and services were held on Saturday at the West Bloomfield Congregational Church. Interment was private. Donations may be made to the American Cancer Society.