CLEVELAND — Russell Wintner, the owner and manager of Memphis Kiddie Park, has passed away at the age of 70.
Wintner, who is survived by his wife Elli and two children, died earlier this week at his winter home in Delray Beach, Florida.
3News spent time with Wintner last June during our "Classic Cleveland Summer" series at Memphis Kiddie Park on "What's New." He told 3News that the park has been like a sibling his entire life, having been started by his parents Stuart and Lanny 70 years ago.
He was quite literally born into the family business.
"My dad finished the merry-go-round... and then went to the hospital until I was born at roughly 3 o'clock in the morning and my father sold his first ticket that afternoon," Wintner added.
Russ Wintner spent most of his professional career traveling between Cleveland and California for the film industry. Upon his retirement in 2012, he took over managing Memphis Kiddie Park until his passing.
Last summer, he told us he was happy to spend his retirement in a more hands-on role at the park. And the next generation of the Wintner family is keeping the tradition alive - one of Russ' two sons, Scott, manages their marketing and spends several weeks each summer helping out.
"When I'm here, I feel very much attached to my dad, [which is], for me, a really good feeling," Russ said. "And hopefully my son Scott will feel the same way and want to keep it running."
Funeral services for Russell Wintner will be held at Berkowitz-Kumin-Bookatz Memorial Chapel, located at 1985 S Taylor Road in Cleveland Heights on Friday, January 27 at 12:00 p.m. Interment will follow at Mayfield Cemetery, 2749 Mayfield Rd in Cleveland Heights.
Click here for more funeral information.
You can watch Matt Wintz's 2022 story about Russell Wintner below: