Lee Jay Weiss

Lee Jay Weiss

WEISS: Lee Jay Weiss (1920-2022), beloved husband, father, uncle, grandfather, great-grandfather, and one of the oldest surviving veterans of the Second World War, passed away on Jan. 4 in Boynton Beach, Florida, after a remarkable life. He was 101.
Lee was born in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, on Dec. 24, 1920, to Minnie Klein and Aaron Weiss and spent his early years in Pittsburgh. As a young man studying art at Carnegie Tech and working as an interior designer, he learned of the attack on Pearl Harbor and immediately volunteered for the war effort. Lee trained as a radio operator and was first deployed to England as a member of the 3103d Service Battalion where he worked on the top-secret Operation Fortitude South intended to deceive the Germans about the location of the Allied invasion ahead of D-Day. It was over 30 years later, when the details of this operation were made public, that Lee learned he had been a part of this famous “Calais Hoax,” and that the encrypted transmissions he had sent redirected the German forces to Pas de Calais, allowing for the successful Allied landing at Normandy. Lee and his unit were then sent to France, arriving on Omaha Beach two days after D-Day. As a signal service operator, Lee “went where he was needed,” helping to liberate Paris, the port at Brest, and then on to Belgium, where he later fought in the Battle of the Bulge.
After the war, Lee joined the Duro-Test Corporation, where he spent his career as a top salesman for over 50 years. Lee married his sweetheart Renee Grosser Weiss in 1945 while home from the war on furlough. Lee and Renee settled in the Philadelphia area, raised two children together and enjoyed 54 years of marriage until her death in 1999. Lee knew how lucky he was to find love again with his second wife, Cele Heyman Lieberman, who was by his side for the last 22 years.
Lee was an avid sportsman who was active in both mind and body nearly to the end. He took pride in pitching weekly doubleheaders for his Sunday softball team at Wall Park until the age of 87 and continued to golf and bowl twice a week well into his 90s. Always the life of the party, Lee was known for his irrepressible charm, his colorful wit, his artistic talents, and his unwavering loyalty to the Pirates and Steelers.
In addition to his wife, Cele Heyman Lieberman, Lee is survived by his children, Barbara Strogatz Pankhurst (Mark Pankhurst) and Steven Weiss (Linda Marcus Weiss); his grandchildren Melissa Strogatz Burnett, Benjamin Strogatz, Laura Weiss Farrell, David Weiss, and Craig Weiss; his wife’s son David Lieberman; and grandsons Jesse and Jordan Lieberman, as well as his three great-grandsons. Lee was also a cherished uncle to his brother Elek Weiss’s children, Bert Weiss (Suzie Laskin), Ronna Weiss Nichamin (Bill Nichamin), and granddaughter Mindy Nichamin. Lee and his family are grateful for the care and friendship of Anne Losiaste during the final years of his life.
In a recent interview to commemorate his 100th birthday, Lee was honored by his modern-day Signal Service Battalion now out of Fort Hood, Texas, and presented with a hand-written letter and director’s coin from four-star General Paul M. Nakasone of the U.S. Army. Toward the end of the interview, Lee remarked that life was a miracle and that he had no regrets, and with his usual humility and cheer added, “All in all, I’ve had a good run.” PJC

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