In Memorium: Jerome “Jerry” Weiss

At 12:02 p.m. on Sunday, July 4, my grandfather Jerome “Jerry” Weiss passed away at the age of 95.

Until I was 10 my grandfather lived in a house one street over from where my family lived, but after some heart trouble in the mid-90’s, he moved in with us into a new house (my grandmother died in 1994).  He drove until my dad took his keys away from him around age 92 and was a regular fixture at a gym where he exercised several times per week.  For the last 15 years he lived mostly by himself, in our basement.  He’s kind of been a fixture there, and I can’t imagine going downstairs and him not being there.  The idea still seems strange to me.  Honestly, it could be a little while before I manage to make it back down there for that reason.

What can you say about a guy who was a soldier during World War II, lived through the Great Depression and witnessed the largest steps forward humanity has made technologically all in his lifetime? During the 90’s he harassed Newt Gingrich as a member of the group “Newt Watch,” and called for a single payer health-care before it was the talking point of the week for liberal groups.  He was also an unrepentant Ralph Nader voter in 2000.

His death wasn’t unexpected in the least.  Over the past year he’d been in and out of the hospital and early last month was moved to hospice care, for the second time.  Yeah, for the second time.  Last year after first going to the hospital, he was moved into one but got into a bit of a fight with the service because the food wasn’t healthy enough.  Instead, he moved back home and managed to stick it out for another year.  It’s kind of a metaphor for his life though, he always wanted to dictate his own terms.  I think that’s what people will remember him for: the guy who when being admitted to the emergency room proceeded to lecture the doctor about antibiotics in his food when asked if he was taking any medication.  So, when I got the call I’d been expecting for over a decade on Sunday, it was more of a relief than anything else.

Even in his 90’s, he never lost his fight.

In honor of his life, I’m posting some of the photos I have taken of him over the last few years.  His funeral is Tuesday, July 6th at 10 a.m. at Arlington Memorial Cemetery in Sandy Springs.  He’s survived by his sons Mark Weiss (my father) and Stanley Weiss (my uncle), and his grandsons Matthew Weiss (my brother) and me.
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15 thoughts on “In Memorium: Jerome “Jerry” Weiss

  1. Thank you, Josh. These photos (and your words) really do capture the essence of grandpa. He was a unique individual, for sure. We all miss him already.

  2. Josh –

    I read this on the train this AM and had to do my best trying to hold back my emotions. Very well done…

  3. Sorry to hear about your grandfather, Josh. It was comforting to me to read about your grandfather’s remaining years as mine is currently in and out of the hospital also. Wonderful pictures, truly captured him.

  4. I have followed your blog for a while since we are both Weiss’ and photographers, but I just wanted to say that I am very sorry to hear about your grandfather’s passing. My husband’s grandfather’s name is also Jerry.

    It’s so nice that you have so many wonderful images to remember him by.

  5. Josh..
    We are so sorry to hear about your grandfather.. Your tributory words are more of a tribute that he was able to convey all those things and am sure more through all your years together. Though we’d only met him a few times.. his personality showed us what a remarkable individual he was. You embody his spirit in the quality of those photos.. What gorgeous work – keep it up.

  6. Josh,
    Beautifully written and beautifully photographed. Your grandfather was the only nonagenarian in my e-mail contact list….and one of the most active contacts of all. His humor, his humanity, and his activism will not be forgotten.

  7. What a beautiful tribute to your grandfather, Josh. The photos really captured his spirit, charm and personality. He will be missed.

  8. The pictures make me wish I had known your grandfather. He sounds like he was a truly unique indivual. Your words convaey your love very well.

  9. Josh, thank you for the memorium to your grandfather and my father. He was a man whose presence contributed to the life of our family. His absence leaves a very large hole. May his memory live on in our family and his friends lives forever.

  10. Hi i am alisa heyman zecker and have been visiting with your mom on her vists down to florida to check on your grandma natalie. mom kept us updated on what was going on and i really appreciated your photos and insights about your grandfather. he certainly made his mark with/in his life and your contribution of words and photos helped to complete the picture. thanks for a beautiful job well. alisa

  11. Josh,this tribute to your grandfather is so touching. You each bridged the generations to connect with one another. Those bonds are never broken. Thank you for sharing it with the rest of us.

  12. Josh,
    Anyone can take a picture, but you captured the essence that was Jerry Weiss. We were friends with him from TBT. I will especially miss the calls & e-mails asking about the health content of recipes.

  13. I agree with your grandfather, Josh, if I had to choose, that first one would be my favorite picture, too. I knew your grandfather only as a fellow “regular” at Shabbat morning services at Temple Beth Tikvah. He (as many of the rest of us did) always sat in the same spot (his was to one side on the end), and always participated with enthusiasm, curiousity, and spot-on observations about the parsha and/or the rabbi’s d’var Torah.

    The look in that picture is one we often saw. The second picture is a memorable one, too, as I can see him tucking in enthusiastically to lunch after the service.

    I’m very glad I got to know your grandfather, Josh; please accept my condolences on the loss of such an exceptional man, and know that I will miss him, too.

    Sheila Barid

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