A memorial service will be held at the St. Stanislaus Church, 57-15 61st St., Maspeth, New York on Saturday, July 16, 2011 at 10:30 AM.
John Weiss, Sr., my good friend, mentor and former business partner, had been in poor health for more than a decade. He passed away due to a variety of health complications. He will be missed, and remembered by many for his kindness, patience, and willingness to share his trade knowledge with those around him and with those with whom he did business.
When I first met John in the early 1980's I had been assigned to work under him as a field supervisor on a project in White Plains that he was managing. His first thought on meeting me was, "What the hell are they doing to me now?" It was the beginning of a long friendship that for both of us led to a whole slew of curious adventures.
In his better lights John was always willing to play along with whatever games were afoot. He enjoyed time with children, and animals as he was always somewhat impish himself. It was often difficult to keep him out of trouble.
A child of Maspeth, Queens from a Polish-German background one character trait of John's has staid with me as the most valuable lesson. He had a blindness to ethnicity or race and he always saw past these false boundaries to reach to the core of an individual and encourage up their best merits to the fore. Through the years of our business partnership we held together a very mixed crew of employees and subcontractors of a multiplicity of race, nationality, background and life circumstance. Quite a few individuals John pulled up out of bad circumstances, supported, pushed, cajoled along and they remained loyal employees and friends for decades. In a few cases they moved on to steady and prosperous careers elsewhere in the construction industry.
One time John walked around over near the Puck Building in Manhattan, back at a time when it was not exactly the safest place to walk around, a mugger came at him with a knife. The employee that was with him that day jumped in front of John and thwarted the attack. That was how it was with John. At times he could be a real pain but he had a very good heart.
He had a passion for dirt track auto sports, a passion he had inherited from his father, and one big trouble I could not help John with was when he drove a modified on a dirt track into a wall at 90 mph. This incident over time caused him considerable long-term health issues. For the remainder of his life he was in chronic pain. John, for all the years that I knew him, survived on coffee, twinkies, an ever-ready wry smile and chain-smoked Marlboros.
Here he is in one of our last shared adventures, a little shopping trip to the Home Depot where David and I brought John along for his advice.