Eric F. Winkenwerder

May 12, 2021

Eric Frederick Winkenwerder, a Servant of the Lord, owner of Wink Lighting, and devoted father and husband passed away on Wednesday, May 12, 2021.  He was born in Charlotte on November 14, 1960. He was a proud graduate of West Charlotte High School and earned a Bachelor of Creative Arts from UNC-Charlotte.  Throughout his career as a lighting designer, he shed his light on many stages for Playworks, Children’s Theatre, Charlotte Repertory Theatre, North Carolina Shakespeare Festival, Omimeo, and the Moving Poets, to name just a few. As an event designer, his company illuminated celebrations throughout Charlotte and beyond. Whether designing lights at a country club, a home, or a theatre, Eric’s desire was to take our eyes to what mattered most.

At Selwyn Avenue Presbyterian Church, he joyfully served as an elder, a choir member, and a children’s ministry leader.  During the pandemic, he used his technical skills to broadcast services, and became an online Bible storyteller.  For many years, Eric created early morning Easter services with the help of his talented friends.  We knew to expect the unexpected when Eric planned worship.

At home, with Suzanne Newsom, his loving wife of 33 years, Eric raised two sons: Elias Newsom Winkwenwerder and Andrew Browne Winkenwerder. His creativity and ability to be a loyal friend live on in them.   He was preceded in death by his parents Ernest and Elizabeth Winkenwerder.  In addition to his wife and sons, he is survived by his brother Hank Winkenwerder and Hank’s wife Sheri, nephews Seth and David of San Jose, California, and his mother-in-law Bettye Sue Newsom. Also surviving is business partner Barbara Berry and the hard working crew at Wink Lighting.

A memorial service with limited seating is planned for May 22, 2021 at 4:00 pm at Selwyn Avenue Presbyterian Church with a broadcast on the church’s Facebook page.  A candlelight celebration will be open to all outside at 7:30 pm.  

Memorials can be made to Selwyn Avenue Presbyterian Church or to the West Charlotte High School Alumni Association. 

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC; 28204 (704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at

Share your memories & condolences


  • Allyson Switzer

    Suzanne my heart goes out to you and your sons and I will continued to pray.for you all. The memorial service was beautiful.

  • Karen and Floyd Cox

    We only had the pleasure of meeting Eric once two years ago when we had dinner with Suzanne, Eric, and Betty Sue. The Newsom family were our next door neighbors and very dear friends when my family lived in Charlotte over 50 years ago. Through the magic of Facebook, we were reacquainted and when my son moved to Charlotte, we were able to get together for dinner. It was a lovely evening and a good time was had by all. We sat and talked until the restaurant was empty!! Suzanne and Eric were so happy and lovingly opened their home to Bettye Sue when Richard passed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their family during thisr time of healing. Much love to all of you.

  • Joanna Smith

    I was so sorry to hear about Eric's death. He was such a wonderful person and artist. It was always a pleasure to work with him. My thoughts and prayers are with Suzanne and his sons.

  • Avon Stephenson

    Suzanne, Eli, and Andrew,
    Eric's winning smile and all the joy that he brought anywhere he would be made all those around feel buoyant and befriended. His awesome talents and professionalism were on display in everything he created. So many memories and good times abound. Our thoughts, love and prayers go out to you.

  • Lon Bumgarner

    I first met Eric when we were both in high school at a theatre festival. I vividly remember seeing him and thinking "bet he's the lighting guy". And, of course, he was. He always was. Not just for theaters, or parties, or homes, but for lives. All of our lives. And it's only now after seeing pictures of him posted these last few days that I made the connection. Of course he was the lighting guy. Because he was "light". His personality was light. ( I mean does anybody remember him saying anything negative about anyone?) He was brilliant. (I remember him dropping some of the most amazing ideas and just sitting there afterward stunned by how smart he was.) And he added luster to everyone (His beautiful wife. His children. His friends. Every actor who was lucky enough to work with him.) Throughout our college life and decades after when I'd see him he was always flashing that amazing, incandescent smile. I doubt I'll be able to look at a light booth, fresnel, or PAR ever again without thinking of him. But an even stronger image for me is him on a grid, beaming down. Our own Cheshire Cat. And though his body may have faded, I know he will always be up there. Lighting us all with a smile.

  • Rita Tickle Hodges

    Saddened to hear of Eric's passing, my sincere thoughts and prayers are with Suzanne and the entire family. Not only a joy to be around, Eric shared his lighting talent at our wedding reception 24 years ago and his contagious smile was a reflection of his good heart and love for his craft, his friends and his family. Rest in peace, humble servant.

  • Tim Parati

    Our family send enormous love to the Winkenwerder family. I’ll always remember Eric’s big wide grin, his crazy hair and painting in the dark while he was focusing on stage. He was a master at his craft and his legacy will live on in all the many photos and memories. He lit up the world... ❤️??

  • David Wynn

    What a great person I worked with Eric for 30 years. They make them no better, he was one of a kind. I know heaven is a bit brighter. Now that Eric is there

  • Kenny Smith

    My prayers are with your entire family. Eric's smile would light up any room he entered. Please know how much I treasured his friendship during my ten years at SAPC.

  • Larry Huelsman

    My thoughts and prayers are with you, Elias and Andrew. It was back in the day when I met Eric at Children's Theater when he was doing the lighting .
    Then the 3 of us met and did some planning . I appreciated knowing Eric as he had excitement for his working in lighting .
    Let me know if I can be of help.

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