We’re sad to announce that Leigh Weimers has passed away at the age of 76.
Warm and easygoing, Leigh was a much beloved figure in San Jose who wrote a column for the San Jose Mercury News for 47 years. He retired on his birthday in 2005 and continued to blog, freelance for local magazines and provide commentary on KLIV radio.
He was a native Californian who was born in the Napa Valley. He attended Napa High School and Napa College and received his B.A. in journalism from San Jose State College (now University) in 1958.
Weimers wrote a column that chronicled the activities of people in the valley, with names in bold type. It was a must-read column in the Mercury News’ heyday. Weimers was a frequent sight at social functions; he knew pretty much everyone and was the recipient of many tips. Newsroom reporters would often fret when he beat them to a story. Weimers was at his best, however, on longer features like profiles and reflective pieces that drew upon his deep knowledge of the valley.
Western Tanager Press published “Leigh Weimers’ Guide to Silicon Valley: An Insider’s Tips for Techies & Tourists’ in 1986 and 1993, and Weimers co-wrote “Silicon Valley: A 110-Year Renaissance,” which was published in 2007.
He was a longtime member of the San Jose Rotary Club and an early chair of the San Jose Police Foundation. He won the Spirit of the Arts Award from Arts Council Silicon Valley and the Tower Award, San Jose State University’s highest service award. He founded the Silicon Valley First Festival, an online event celebrating innovation held on New Year’s Day.
Weimers returned short of breath from a July trip to Switzerland, taken to celebrate 50 years of marriage with his wife, Geri. He was hospitalized for four days with congestive heart failure. I saw him at the San Jose Jazz Festival about a week later and he mentioned that he would be going in for surgery at the end of the month.
Leigh’s good natured ways were reflected in his last blog post, on Tuesday: “I don’t want to be one of those geezers who bore friends to tears with too much detail about the workings of my innards. I want you to keep asking me, “How’s it going?” without fear.”
“So I’ll simply say that I’m having surgery tomorrow to repair or replace a valve in my heart. It may leave me slightly out of touch for a while. I’ll write about it – briefly – when I’m back.”
As of this writing, his family has not released the cause of death or details on services, and has requested privacy.
Weimers is survived by his wife Geri, two grown daughters and three grandchildren.