Ernest "Ernie" Weiss(1931 - 2019)

SACO - Ernest "Ernie" Weiss died peacefully in his sleep April 19, 2019, at The Landing at Saco Bay, Saco, Maine, where he lived for the last three years. He was diagnosed with vascular dementia seven years ago. He would have been 88 on May 7, 2019.Ernie was a Holocaust survivor and a champion of all who suffered from the wrongs of life. A member of the crew at Boston University, he refused to eat in segregated restaurants when the team went south for training during winter breaks. When the refuseniks from Russia were finally let into this country he started a program to help them find housing and jobs. That program is alive today. When he retired on Martha's Vineyard he joined the SCORE chapter on Cape Cod so he could open a chapter on the island. It was a huge success and is alive today. He despised bigotry and discrimination of any sort. He was active in the Jewish community on Boston's North Shore and was a two term president of the Jewish Community Center in Marblehead.Ernie was born in Vienna, Austria, May 7, 1931, to Robert and Hedy Weiss. For eight years his life was one of affluence. His father owned a large shoe factory. Ernie was driven to school by a chauffeur and cared for by nannies and live in cooks. At age three is was skiing in the Alps and had his first tennis racket. Then one day in April 1938, the Nazis knocked on his door and sent household help away, leaving Ernie and his infant brother alone with his distraught mother. They seized his house and then went to the Eldorado Shoe Factory and took his father to Dachau. They sent all Jewish employees away and recorded the event calling it a "Jew Free" business.His mother, an accomplished pianist, and a cousin who was a journalist brazenly went to Berlin and eventually were able to bring Robert back to Vienna. This story is recorded in a memoir Ernie wrote: Out of Vienna: Eight Years of Flight From the Nazis, which details the Weiss's long journey to America.He was a passionate man, especially for opera, classical music, skiing, tennis, biking, and love for his family. In retirement he taught handicapped skiing in Steamboat Springs, Colo. He spoke several languages which he honed in his many trips to Europe.He was a graduate of Brookline, Mass. High School and Boston University. He then enlisted and spent two years in France in the U.S. Army.Following his father's footsteps his career was in the shoe business. He was cofounder and vice president of Bradford Manmade, a leading supplier of synthetic shoe material in Bradford, Mass.Ernie was predeceased by his parents and a nephew, Gregg Weiss.He will be greatly missed by his wife of 35 years, Leslie Weiss of Cumberland Foreside; his brother Peter Weiss and his wife Ronney of Boston; his son Marc Weiss and wife Brenda of Cape Elizabeth, his daughter Laurie Griffin and husband Danny of East Dover, Vt., his stepson Bob Brown of Ipswich, Mass., his stepdaughter Susan Brown of Lantana, Fla.: his grandchildren Alex and Matt Weiss, Dylan and Danielle Griffin, his step grandchildren Robert and Elizabeth Brown; two nieces Karen Weiss and Dale Crosby.Based on his wishes he has been cremated and there will be no formal funeral services. A family celebration of life is planned in July.The family thanks the angels at The Landing at Saco Bay for their loving and compassionate care during the last three years. Also, the amazing Hospice staff who cared for him the last three weeks of his life.

Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider making a donation in his name to the: of Maine 383 US Route OneSuite 2C Scarborough, ME 04074.

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Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on May 22, 2019