Update: added info on SheepShaver to the bottom of this answer.
Okay, there has got to be a better way, but i haven't found it.
What i'm doing is continuing with the ftp approach, but doing it by manually rooting around, dragging the files to NameCleaner set to fix the names (changes invalid chars like / to valid chars like !, etc.), then dragging the files to Fetch 4.
I've tried various zip solutions with no success--various frustrating problems that led me further into the weeds without solving the problem. I also messed around with File Sharing with no success. Followed several online guides on making AppleShare work with Windows systems and it was a bust. Could never get Windows to see the Mac.
So, in the end, just manually futzing around, renaming and moving the files. Thank goodness for NameCleaner.
A note to anyone in a similar situation... It's apparent that sometimes a solution to the problem at hand isn't a solution to the real problem. After all this, i'm toying with just buying a newer used or refurbished Mac to deal with file format issues. Some of the files moved to my Windows system are useless--in the cases where it's a proprietary application format. Sheesh.
Thanks for the suggestions. Upvoting other good answers but accepting this one.
SheepShaver and Basilisk II
So, to wrap this all up, NameCleaner to make the filenames Windows-friendly, ftp the files from Mac to PC with Fetch, into a directory accessible via SheepShaver Mac OS 9 emulation. Definitely not the simple answer i was looking for, but a much more satisfying one that i wasn't expecting.