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Huntley Fire Captain Killed in Accident Remembered as Good Guy

Huntley firefighters lose one of their own.

Updated 5:15 p.m.: Funeral services listed below.

Huntley Fire District firefighters are holding their own, trying to do their jobs in the wake of the death of one of their captains, John Winkelman, Thursday in a motorcycle accident.

“John was an easy going, level headed, laid back guy who liked to have a good time,” Deputy Chief Ken Caudle said. “He was a practical jokester, he was just a fun guy to be around. He was loved by everybody.”

Winkelman, 54, of Margeno, died from the injuries he sustained in the accident on Route 176.

He joined the Huntley fire district in January 1988 as a firefighter. He was made captain in June 2001. As a captain, he was a shift commander in charge of everyone on duty in the district’s four stations and everything that goes on in them, Caudle said.

Captain Winkelman was on his way back home from a meeting with the communications center in Crystal Lake when the crash occurred on Route 176 at Mt. Thabor Road around 3 p.m.

He was on his motorcycle attempting to turn east on Route 176 when a Chrysler driven by a 27-year-old Woodstock woman collided with him, authorities said. He was not wearing a helmet at the time.

Crystal Lake firefighters responded to the accident and notified Huntley firefighters, Caudle said. The McHenry County firefighting community is close and Crystal Lake forefathers knew Winkelman.

Firefighters are use to responding to accidents but it is different when it’s one of your own, Caudle said.

Huntley firefighters were remembering Winkelman fondly Friday. Everyone was trying to do their jobs but “you can definitely see it is weighing on them,” he said.

Winkelman, the married father of five, was also an avid Harley-Davidson fan.  His death was also reported in Internet sites for motorcycle aficionados.

“He loved his Harley,” Caudle said. “He drove that bike all over the country.”

Huntley fire department is waiting for a declaration from the Gov. Pat Quinn’s office to place the American flags outside every station at half-staff.  Flags throughout the state are currently at half-staff in memory of Cpl. Alex Martinez of Elgin who died last week in Afghanistan.  His father is from Huntley.

Winkelman “will definitely never be forgotten,” Caudle said.

Funeral services for Winkelman are as follows:

Visitation takes place from 4-9 p.m.  Tuesday, April 17 at the Cosman Center (Huntley Park District), 12015 Mill St. Huntley.

A fire department walk through will take place at 7 p.m. Line up will begin at 6:30 pm in the southwest parking lot.

Funeral Service will take place at 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 18 at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 6812 Main St., Union.

Visitation at St. John’s will be held from 10:00 am to 11:00 am.

Line up will be at 10:30 am. Procession to Marengo City cemetery will follow immediately after the funeral service.

 

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