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.
Leigh was Mr. San Jose. He knew everybody, liked most of them, had a great sense of humor and his humanity was reflected in his columns over the years.
He knew both of the Valley’s agrarian roots and its transition to the high tech capital of the world. His columns are a living history of the times, challenges and, mostly, people who made Silicon Valley what it is today—both good and bad.
There is no one who can or will fill his shoes and that is a tremendous loss for our community.
I remember first reading Leigh Weimers columns in the mid-80’s when I moved back to San Jose to go to grad school and to work for the City of San Jose.
Reading his columns made you feel connected to what was going on in San Jose. It seemed like he knew everyone in the Valley and he made his readers feel like insiders too.
I never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Weimers; those who were privileged to know him must feel a very great loss.
A man with Integrity.
Oh my God! This is so sad. He was an incredibly wonderful, loving man. He helped me feed/save a lot of unwanted animals through his columns. I’m heart broken to hear that he passed a way. He will be deeply missed, and remembered kindly.
A true gentleman. He’ll be missed.
Leigh was a class act. He spoke in rich,metered tones and wrote the same way. You knew you had arrived in San Jose when Leigh knew you by name. I never heard him raise his voice, lose his temper or say something bad about anyone. He was the consummate gentleman with his gracious and kind manner. Leigh knew so much about San Jose’s history because he chronicled much of it. What a loss for all of us.
My deepest sympathy to Geri and Leigh’s family.
RIP Leigh Weimers – a very nice man who was one of the last PROFESSIONAL JOURNALIST’s in San Jose. He acted and reported with INTEGRITY! He was one of the very few “Bright Lights” to write/report for the sjmn. He was also proof that one could respect and support the Police and still be a great reporter -what the current crop of ‘journos’ should but won’t aspire to.
RIP Leigh , you were a man of unquestioned Integrity . Its just a shame that the rest of the ” so called journalists at The Merc. &/or KLIV” learned anything from you . You were a class act and will surely be missed.