Harold Weiss died on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2008 at Dobbs Ferry Hospital in Westchester at the age of 101. Although his body was ravaged by the assault of multiple disease processes, he retained his clarity of mind, vestiges of his handsome visage, an indomitable will and his lion‚Äôs heart.
He was the beloved husband of Elsie who died in 2001, cherished father of Dr. Sindy and Malcolm Becker and Drs. Benita and Bernard Dolin, loving grandfather of Drs. Tanya and Bruce Becker, Nicole and David Cairrao, Drs. Pamela and John Mitamura and Drs. Daniele and Joseph DeMattia, proud great-grandfather of Zachary, Benjamin and Samuel Becker, Blake and Brooke Cairrao, Chelsea, Emily, Hanna and Matthew Mitamura and Jett DeMattia.
He was predeceased by three younger siblings, brother Ben in 1933, sister Henrietta in 2002 and brother Sidney in 2007.
The son of Samuel and Minnie, he was born on April 21, 1906 in Manhattan. Raised in Brooklyn, he attended Boys‚Äô High, graduating in 1923. He was accepted at N.Y.U. which, at that time offered a combined undergraduate and law degree program. During the summer of 1927, to defray his tuition expenses, Harold worked as a waiter at the Roseland Hotel in Fleischmanns where he met and fell in love with Elsie, the 15-year-old daughter of the owners, John and Czillia Frank. They were married in 1930 in Brooklyn.
Harold graduated from N.Y.U. Law School and passed the N.Y. State Bar examination in 1927. He was in private practice in Manhattan for 68 years during which time he served as a judge in small claims court in Brooklyn. He also maintained an office in Fleischmanns and became a member of the Delaware County Bar Association. He retired from active practice in 1997 and moved from Brooklyn to Westchester where he lived with his wife of 71 years until her death in 2001.
The couple traveled extensively, visiting Spain, Italy, France, England and Australia. In 1990, in celebration of their 60th anniversary and accompanied by their children, grandchildren and two infant great-grandchildren, they toured Hungary, to re-acquaint the family with their ethnic origins.
Harold was a dedicated fisherman, teaching the art of fly-fishing to his son-in-law Malcolm, who reciprocated by introducing him to the pleasures of boating, the ocean and deep sea fishing. He, Malcolm and his grandson Bruce shared many memorable male bonding trips to primitive fishing camps in Guatemala, the Florida Keys, Mexico and Panama. Being awarded a citation for catching an ‚Äúoutstanding 110-lb. 8 oz. tarpon on rod and real unaided‚Äù in April 1956, was one of his most exciting and gratifying experiences.
In a note that he had recently sent to Sindy, he wrote that he had been blessed with the gift of time and life. He maximized both. He and Elsie were actively involved in community and charitable organizations, including the American Heart Association and ACS. The couple received numerous awards and testimonials in recognition of their committed efforts and accomplishments. Harold fully participated in an engaged social life, and savored the beautiful and therapeutic environment of the mountains at the home he shared with Sindy and Malcolm every summer. He was a traditional presence, hosting the hospitality tent at the annual Fleischmanns Tennis Tournament and attending the concerts and festivities at Belleayre Mountain.
He was an irreplaceable, unique and very special ‚Äúgentleman.‚Äù His role was that of treasured patriarch, counselor, guide, mentor and icon, bestowing his wisdom and instilling his scruples, values and code of honor.
He leaves a void in the hearts of his bereft family as well as the solace of countless precious memories to be recalled and recounted transgenerationally. His greatest and most lasting legacy‚Äî-his progeny. We are the ones who have been blessed with his gift of time and life.
Funeral services were held on Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 11 a.m. at Temple Beth Abraham in Tarrytown. His grandson Bruce delivered a eulogy in tribute to his memory. Burial and graveside service was at 3 p.m. at the Fleischmanns cemetery.