Cover photo for Charles Winans's Obituary
1953 Charles 2024

Charles Winans

June 18, 1953 — March 3, 2024

Charlie Bill (William) Winans, 70, of Rochester passed away on Sunday, March 3, 2024 at St. Marys Hospital in Rochester, MN from complications following a stroke in November 2021. He was born on June 18, 1953 in Rocheser, MN to Carl and Harriet (Palmer) Winans.

Charlie had many great loves: Karen, family, music, animals, and fishing - not necessarily in that order. What he loved, he loved thoroughly.

Charlie Bill was a lifelong musician and it was his identity. He got his first guitar at 15 years of age. After being shown basic guitar chords by seasoned local musicians, he taught himself to play lead guitar. He played and sang with many local bands, including Buzz Hackman, The Parrish Brothers and Rich and the Country Poorfolk.

He married Karen Block December 30, 1979 in Las Vegas . He thought it would be fun to teach her how to play guitar so they could play and sing together. Karen thought it was more fun for Charlie than it was for her. They formed Charlie Bill and the Mostly Country Band in 1981 with Steve Webb and "Big" Jim Aufenthie. Vic Sash and Butch (Mike) Bradshaw would later join Charlie and Karen. The band played for over 30 years in southern Minnesota at weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, campgrounds, American Legions, Eagles Clubs, VFW's, Labor Clubs, and even a divorce party or two. His guitar was always right next to the couch and he would play every day. He loved music and after his stroke he never picked up his guitar or sang again. He died a little each day mourning that loss.

He was also a great animal lover. Remember the TV show Grizzly Adams? Well, Karen called him "Grizzly Charlie". Every animal he came in contact with loved him and were not afraid of him. Dogs, cats, squirrels, ducks, raccoons and even deer were not threatened by him. More than once a deer would come up from the creek and Charlie would be able to walk right up to them and guide the frightened animal back to the creek from the city streets. He once converted his dirt-floor single car garage into a "Kitty Corral" with ramps and rooms housing 19 mother cats and newborn kittens. All his pets were rescues, although he felt that they were saving him. Smoke, Sam Cat, Lucky, Casper, Buddy and lastly Ace were all special to him. He would build a platform over the dog house in his vans so his buddies could sit up and see out the windows. And the looks he would get from anyone who saw this was, well, priceless. Ace, his black lab, lost his battle with old age after Charlie had his stroke and he was crushed by that loss.

Charlie was an Eyota American Legion member and Past Worthy President of the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Rochester, Mn.

Charlie is survived by his wife, Karen of 44 years. They were best friends and complimented each other. Charlie loved to cook and clean and grocery shop - and Karen did not! They would spend time working on their old vehicles, everything from changing oil to changing radiators. Charlie could fix almost anything and Karen was right there by his side.

Charlie was previously married to Sharon Sorenson. He is survived by his two daughters from that marriage and their families. Buffie and Gordy Dukart, granddaughter Haley Dukart--(Justin Peterson) great-grandsons Lynkin Marshall and Atlan Xavier and grandson Zach Dukart. Daughter Joddi Denman, granddaughters Alison Arthur, Abby Denman, Ashley Denman and Avery Denman. Sister Christina (Edwin) Emmanuelli, mother-in-law Joanne (Ruth) Zeitler, brother-in-law James Bell, and numerous nephews and nieces.

He was preceded in death by his parents, sisters Pat (Ron deceased) Breese and Carletta (James) Bell, father-in-law Russell Block, sister-in-law Renee Block Tanner, and brothers-in-law Richard Block, Paul Block and Christopher Block.

A Celebration of Life will be held Friday, March 15, 2024 3pm to 7pm at Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home 5421 Royal Pl NW, Rochester, MN.

Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Winans family. To share a special memory or condolence, please visit

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Charles Winans, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Friday, March 15, 2024

3:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes

5421 Royal Place NW, Rochester, MN 55901

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