Winter Haven is a beautiful city in sunny Florida. It is known as “The Chain of Lakes City.” In fact, Winter Haven has more than 40 lakes and a warm climate with an average temperature of 73 degrees, year-round. This makes Winter Haven the perfect place to live and work.

This thriving city has a moderate cost of living compared to other cities in the area. The job market is alive and well, and there is an emphasis on education. This combination produces some driven and talented citizens.

While this city only has a population of fewer than 37,000 people, Winter Haven has been the home of many important people. From politicians to Olympians and everything in between, Winter Haven’smost famous citizens have made their mark on society. These notable residents include:


Rowdy Gaines, 3-time Olympic winner, Swimming
Kenneth Brokenburr, Olympic gold medalist – 4×100 meter relay team at the 2000 Summer Olympics
Chris Cameron, gymnast
Lem Burnham, football
Alex Ramirez, Professional Basketball
Jordan Schafer, MLB Player
Otis Birdsong, former professional basketball player
Andre Berto, professional welterweight boxer
George A. “Banana George” Blair, professional barefoot skier
Dick Pope, Sr., creator of Cypress Gardens, and famed water-skier
Dick Pope, Jr., world champion water-skier, and barefoot water-skier
O.D. Wilson, powerlifter and professional strongman

Professional Manager and Coach

Ralph Houk, Major League Baseball Coach
Charlie Manuel, MLB Philadelphia Phillies Manager
Burt Shotton, former manager of MLB’s Philadelphia Phillies and Brooklyn Dodgers


Stephen Christian, lead singer of Anberlin
Gloria Hendry, actress
Jake Owen, country musician
Gram Parsons, country, and rock musician
James Lord Pierpont, songwriter of Jingle Bells
Jim Stafford, country singer
Sally Wheeler, actress
Gary Wright, singer, actor, art teacher


Frank Attkisson, politician
Tim Ford, Mississippi lawyer, and legislator
Michael Griffin, U.S. Representative from Wisconsin

Other Professions

Michael Yon, journalist
Kathleen Parker, author, and syndicated columnist
Lawrence Scarpa, architect
Gene Leedy, modern architect
Dewey Tomko, professional poker player
John A. Snively, a pioneer citrus grower, developed extensive groves in the Winter Haven area
Andre Berto, professional welterweight boxer


Daryl L. Thompson is a prominent inventor from Winter Haven who launched one of GNC’s most popular selling food supplements, the Grapefruit Solution. Between 2003 to 2006, Thompson developed the Grapefruit Solution while he served as the founder, partner, and Senior Vice President and Director of Research at Solution Health Systems in Boca Raton.

Thompsonis currently the president and director of research at ATM Metabolics LLC in Winter Haven, which focuses on the development of food supplements and pharmaceuticals naturally derived from phytochemical platforms aimed at preventing and reversing metabolic and neurological diseases.

Thompson is considered a respected person in the Winter Haven community for his many achievements. He is also the recipient of the Diabetes World Humanitarian Award for designing a non-invasive glucose meterawarded by the Diabetes Research Center in 2000.

As you can see, Winter Haven has an impressive list of citizens and a wealth of knowledge to share. Visitors are always welcome to the beautiful city of Winter Haven and the Chain of Lakes.