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12/21/08 - NNHS Newsletter - Otto Weiss, Jr.

Otto H. Weiss, Jr.
(04 Feb 1923 - 07 July 2008)

Newport News High School Class of June 1946

Dear Friends and Schoolmates,   

   We have yet another sad, if quite belated, edition of the NNHS Newsletter today.  Otto Weiss, Jr., Class of June 1946, passed away in Sewickley, Pennsylvania at the age of 85.

   From Fred Field (June '45) of CA - 12/21/08 - "Otto Weiss, Jr.":

Hello Homeboys,       
Somehow I stumbled across the below obituary.  Otto Weiss, Jr. was the son of Otto Sr., the long time drafting instructor at NNHS.
Otto struggled in school, being held back several times. About 1943 he gave up and joined the Navy.  He was trained as a Naval gunner and was put aboard a merchant ship.
Otto was one of the "Turner's Cowboys" and I remember him in the crowd perpetually out front of the drugstore.  His family lived just a block away, on Blair Avenue at the corner of Cedar.
He came home after the war and went back into NNHS determined to catch up.  He graduated in the Class of June, 1946.  By then I was in the Navy myself and it was a long time before I would see Otto again.
After I entered Va. Tech in 1948 I ran into Otto.  He was an architect student and already a class or two ahead of me.  I was surprised that he had surged ahead after so much trouble in high school.  He said he had been very dyslexic since infancy and the problem had not been recognized or diagnosed until he had returned from the Navy.  Once he knew what it was he devised his own work-around techniques.
Otto earned his BS in Architecture.  He was hired by a PA firm that designed and built bridges.  After retirement he started a printing business.  I corresponded with him several times and was pleased that he was successful and happy with life.
Otto had a most amazing story from WW-II.  A ship he was on was torpedoed and sunk in the Caribbean.  He was able to get off the ship into a life raft with several others.  Soon the sub surfaced and the sailors were taken aboard the sub.  The captain spoke English and told them that he would take care of them until there was some means of transferring them to a supply ship.
The sub had trouble rendezvousing with whatever supplied them and they soon realized that they would run out of food sooner because of the prisoners.
The captain told them that he was going to put them ashore.  The sub approached the Texas coast and the sailors were put into a rubber raft in the dark of night.
They reached shore ok but had to search around to find someone.  Finally they came upon a farmhouse.  The farmer was suspicious and called the county sheriff.  The sheriff locked them up in the county jail.
The sailors were surprised at being held in jail for several days.  Actually some Federal Agents were on their way to Texas to interview the men.  Later the men realized they had been held in jail to keep the story from becoming public.
The men were all counseled (with threats) that they were going to Washington in custody for interrogation.  There they were kept confined while being grilled about what they had learned while on the German sub.  Before being returned to duty they were put under oath not to speak of the incident.  Otto's conclusion was that the Feds did not want it into the news that the Germans had been more than humane.
During the war every chance was taken to make bad guys out of the enemy.  If you ever view the movie "Lifeboat" you will see an example.
Otto told me the story right after the war was over and he had been discharged.  I learned more details from him during our time together at Va. Tech. 
Every life an adventure.
Otto Weiss, Sewickley businessman
Otto H. Weiss Jr., 85, a Sewickley resident for the past 60 years, passed away on July 7, 2008, at Sewickley Valley Hospital.

He was born in Newport News, Va., on Feb. 4, 1923, to the late Julia (Holladay) and Otto H. Weiss Sr.

He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 48 years, Ann (Roe) Weiss.

Mr. Weiss was a civil engineer retired from Allegheny County. After his retirement, a new venture was born. His dream of owning a local printing shop became a reality with Printers of Sewickley. The shop existed from the late 1970s to the early '90s.

Mr. Weiss proudly served in the U.S. Navy during WWII. When merchant marine ships started to have a presence in winning the war, they were assigned naval officers. This elite group was known as the Armed Guard.

He was a faithful member of Grace Episcopal Church in Edgeworth.

He is survived by two loving children, Holladay Pontius and husband, Richard, of Salem, Mass., and Otto H. Weiss III and wife, Mare, of Medford, Mass.; and his precious grandson, Miguel Alexander Pontius.

Services were held earlier today at Grace Episcopal Church in Edgeworth.

A burial with military honors was held at Sewickley Cemetery.

Funeral arrangements were made by Copeland's Sewickley, 702 Beaver St.

Fred W. Field
Fullerton, CA

   Thank you, Fred, what a fascinating account!  Please accept my condolences on the loss of your friend.

       From Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 12/21/08:

Hi Fred,

Great story.

Here is a photo of Otto, Sr., from the 1936 Beacon (yearbook):

TYPHOON Regards,

Dave Spriggs '64

1936 Beacon

   Thank you so much, Captain.

  From Jimmy Shires ('57) of VA - 02/02/09 - "Otto Weiss, Jr. Obituary":


My mother, 
Anne Holladay Shires, (NNHS '37) was raised by her aunt Julia and uncle Otto (Sr.) Weiss.  Otto Weiss was a teacher at NNHS.  It isn't a big deal, but I wanted to pass the obit on to my mom's sister in Florida if I could find it.

Thanks, Jimmy

   Certainly, Jimmy, that's very understandable. I'm sorry it took me so long to create this page; please convey my deepest sympathies to your family.

   Y'all take good care of each other!  TYPHOONS FOREVER!  We'll Always Have Buckroe!

                          Love to all, Carol





Carol Buckley Harty
219 Four Ply Lane
Fayetteville, NC 29311-9305

O Lord of Life, Where'er They Be

- Lyrics by
Frederick L. Hosmer, 1888; Music by Melchior Vulpius (circa 1560-1615)

O Lord of life, where’er they be,
Safe in Thine own eternity,
Our dead are living unto Thee:
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

All souls are Thine, and here or there
They rest within Thy sheltering care;
One providence alike they share:
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thy Word is true, Thy ways are just;
Above the requiem, “Dust to dust,”
Shall rise our psalm of grateful trust:
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

O happy they in God who rest,
No more by fear and doubt oppressed,
Living or dying, they are blest:
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

"O Lord of Life, Where'er They Be" midi courtesy of - 04/08/08

"O Lord of Life, Where'er They Be" lyrics courtesy of - 04/08/08

Greg Olsen Paintings courtesy of – 03/15/05

Animated Navy Flag clip art courtesy of - 06/18/03

Blackwork Flowers Divider Line clip art courtesy of - 08/12/04

Navy Seal clip art courtesy of - 05/29/06

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