Maurice H. Winger, Jr.
December 28, 1917 ~ December 17, 2009
Resided in: Asheville, NC
Asheville- Maurice H. Winger Jr., 91 passed away peacefully at home Thursday December 17, 2009. He was born December 28, 1917 in Kansas City, Missouri but had made Asheville his home since 1950. His life was one marked by many impressive accomplishments. At William Jewell College he was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity and the captain of the United States debate team which he led against Cambridge and Oxford Universities. After graduating as valedictorian Winger attended Duke University Law School becoming editor of the Law Review before receiving his degree in 1941. He was then hired as an associate at the New York law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell after which he was recruited to be the Corporate Secretary of the United States Export Import Bank. With the country at war, Winger saw combat in Okinawa with the U.S. Marine Corps. and was later appointed to legal officer for the 2nd Marine Air Wing in the Pacific Theater. Returning from Okinawa he resumed his career at the New York law firm of Debevoise Plimpton where, specializing in aviation law he presided over the merger of American and Pan Am Airlines. Some years later he would serve as a board member of Piedmont Airlines. In 1950 he was recruited to Asheville as assistant general counsel of American Enka Corporation, becoming general counsel, then general manager of the Brand Rex division and finally retired as president of American Enka in 1982. During his tenure at American Enka Winger was an active civic leader and served on many boards and was chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Not one to retire to an idle life he co-founded and became president of the Western North Carolina Community Foundation. He also joined the Biltmore Company as Vice President, General Counsel and advisory board member during which time his advice and participation led to the establishment of the Biltmore Winery. Widely traveled and well read with a love of history, he was a man of varied interests including ocean sailing and piloting glider planes. He was a past board member of the Biltmore Forest Country Club, a member of the University Club in New York, the Sarasota Yacht Club and a "Bishop" with the Royal Brigade of Guards. Winger is preceded in death by his son Stephen and survived by his wife and life companion Virginia and by their son Eric Winger of Savannah, Ga. and his wife, Linda; daughter-in-law Teresa Winger; grandchildren: Jonathon (Rob) Winger of Atlanta, Ga. and his wife Allison; Michael Winger of San Francisco, CA. and his wife Jessica; Daniel Winger and Caroline Winger both of Asheville, N.C. A memorial service will be held Friday, January 8, 2010 at 3:00 P.M. in the chapel of Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian on Long Shoals Road. Remembrances may be made to Calvary Episcopal Church Food Pantry, P.O. Box 187, Fletcher, N.C. 28732 or a favorite charity.