2 significant losses for NH

Art Grant and Dick Winneg contributed mightily to the state

New Hampshire loses every time one of its citizens dies. All cannot be noted here or in any other public forum. But this summer, New Hampshire should recognize two significant people who contributed to our state for the last half century or more.

W. Arthur Grant, native of Claremont, was raised in Newport. He grew up in the Depression and did well in its schools. Nearing graduation in 1947, his principal asked him where he was going to college. Grant replied that he had not applied, since his family could not afford to send him. Knowing of his ability and accomplishments, the principal called the director of admissions at the University of New Hampshire, one Jere Chase (later executive vice president of UNH, its acting president and president of New England College).

The principal said he had a promising student who should be admitted. Chase said that was possible. Then the principal added, “He will need significant financial aid.” Chase thought a minute, and said that was possible as well. Therefore, young Art Grant’s life was changed, and he was going to UNH.

Graduating in 1951, Grant went on to work as a journalist for newspapers in various locations. Later, he was hired at UNH to work in the president’s office and was assistant to two presidents, John McConnell and Thomas Bonner. He took a break from UNH at least once, and went to work for his hometown paper, The Argus-Champion in Newport, but soon returned to the university, where he worked with distinction.

When the University System of New Hampshire was formed, he was named its secretary and held that job for many years, retiring in 1999 after 36 years. He was often the silent guiding hand that kept things working for UNH and USNH, the wise councilor to the CEOs who helped them perform their jobs well.

Grant also served Durham as a town councilor for 10 years. He raised his three daughters and a son in Durham.

This writer met Art Grant when he assisted President McConnell in the late 1960s, when I had the honor to be a student leader, and even had the chance to cut the grass at his home. (He had cute daughters!)

Grant moved to Havenwood/Heritage Heights in Concord in his retirement, where he and his wife Dee lived and ultimately passed away. Luckily, before he left us he recorded an oral history of the university system’s founding process.

Richard I. Winneg died July 14, just shy of his 91st birthday.

A Massachusetts native, he came to New Hampshire after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania and service in the Navy. He joined his brothers in the apparel manufacturing business, ultimately running Winwood Sportswear in the Manchester Millyard and other businesses in Manchester and Laconia. After textile and apparel manufacturing became uneconomic in New England, he turned his attention to real estate investment in Manchester and other locations.

But it was not as a businessman that Dick and his wife Fran made their mark on their adopted state. They were involved in many civic and religious causes, first as head of the Jewish Federation of New Hampshire. He was a major contributor to the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and its Manchester division, was a trustee and chair of the Elliot Hospital and recipient of its William S. Green Award for leadership, was involved in most of the important healthcare charities in Manchester, and in 2007 was named the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year. The Charitable Foundation awarded him its Lifetime Service Award.

With his close friend, attorney Bill Green, Dick Winneg helped make the Manchester United Way a major factor in the community. He also was on the board of Child and Family Services as well as many other organizations.

I had the chance to meet Dick Winneg early in my legal practice and to represent him until his death, almost 50 years later. There was no finer man, or more significant and supportive client and friends, than Dick Winneg and his wife Fran. They were what built Manchester and New Hampshire in the second half of the 20th century and should be recognized for their contributions, with so many other prominent, and sometimes anonymous, citizens.

Brad Cook, a shareholder in the Manchester law firm of Sheehan Phinney Bass & Green, heads its government relations and estate planning groups. He can be reached at bcook@sheehan.com.

Categories: Cook on Concord