Winston with Ali in 1967 3

Henry Calvin "Champ" Winston (December 11, 1931 – November 21, 2015) was the owner of East Bay Ambulance, and noted as a boxing and sports promoter.

Winston was born December 11, 1931, in Memphis, Tennessee to John Winston and Rosa Ella King (Winston). The family came to California in 1944 to join Rosa's brother, Louis King, who owned a hotel on 7th Street and a nightclub in Berkeley near Byron Rumford's pharmacy. After attending McClymonds High School, “I refused to graduate with the class, because I thought I was too big-time. I opened the pool hall on 7th Street in the building my uncle owned, and we had a soda fountain.” 1

After serving in the Navy in the 1950s, Winston married Georgia Burkhardt (Winston) and they had four children; Lenet, Lamonte, Pamela and Kevin. (Lamonte Winston was Director of Player Engagement for the Oakland Raiders c.2012)

Winston was an avid churchgoer his entire life. He attended Beth Eden and Evergreen before becoming a member of the Market Street Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Oakland Post owner and editor Paul Cobb said Winston protected him and helped him establish a movable shoeshine stand, while selling out-of-town newspapers and black magazines on Seventh Street in front of the historic nightclubs that Cobb was too young to enter. 1


In addition to the ambulance business, in 1966 Winston applied to the California State Athletic Commission to promote boxing. 2 He quickly made a name for himself, and worked with noted boxers including Muhammed Ali, Sonny Lister, George Foreman, and Joe Frazier. 1,3,4

Winston promoted other sports including college football, organizing several local games for charity in the early 1970s. 6

His obituary says he traveled Europe with The Edwin Hawkins Singers to launch their “O Happy Day” debut album.

Winston with boxers Curtis Cokes and Charlie Shipes 5

Links and References

  1. Henry “Champ” Winston, 84, Fought the Good Fights, Kept the Faith Oakland Post December 4, 2016
  2. notice Oakland Tribune July 25, 1966
  3. Oakland Title Fight Oakland Tribune July 11, 1967
  4. Why Ali Will Fight For Free Oakland Tribune July 1, 1967 (p2)
  5. Gym 'Beef' Spices Bout Oakland Tribune September 26, 1967 (p2)
  6. Southern Alumni To Stage a Party Oakland Tribune November 9, 1972