OBITUARY

William J. Weber

April 21, 1962October 21, 2020

William Joseph Weber

Bill Weber was born on April 21, 1962 at Clara Maas Hospital in Belleville, NJ and lived his first decade in Newark, his second in Nutley, a few years in Passaic, then on to Brooklyn, NY since 1993.

The beloved son of the late George Edwin Weber and the late Anne Rita (Garry) Weber, Bill was an extremely intelligent and quiet boy. Bill could read college texts at age 5, and was enamored of the Apollo space program, the NY Mets, American history and politics at a very early age. Reciting the names of the Presidents in reverse chronological order and naming capital cities from around the globe were early pastimes. Bill was a champion speller, winning multiple regional and state spelling bees in grade school. His love for baseball statistics started early; he would often hand score games while listening to them on the radio; he poured over players stats and team info every minute he could.

Bill excelled in academics at Nutley High School, earning near perfect grades and a National Merit Scholarship to attend New York University. He majored in English. He often said it was a great way to spend four years – reading and critiquing books! He also availed himself of the five boroughs’ revival movie houses, on- and off-Broadway theatres, concert and club venues, museums and of course, Shea Stadium.

Bill did stand-up comedy for a time in his early twenties, earning praise from the likes of Brett Butler and Jeff Foxworthy. He volunteered at WFMU freeform radio for decades – many of his closest friends are those he met there. Bill was an active member of SABR - Society for American Baseball Research, travelling to see games in ball parks all across North America. He was an active member of the I Love Everything (ILX) message board – username Dr. Moribus. Bill also wrote film criticism for Slant magazine starting in 2007; the archive can be found here: https://www.slantmagazine.com/author/bweber/

Earning a living was a necessity, but never a driving force for Bill. More than three decades as a proofreader/copy editor/production editor in the advertising and medical communications fields paid the bills. He was no slacker and worked an honest day, but success in the corporate world was of little concern to Bill. As long as his basic needs were met, Bill lived for all that NYC offered.

Bill became Uncle Bill in 2006, when his niece Christy was born. When Cathy and Gary asked him to be her Godfather, they were somewhat surprised (pleasantly so) that he seemed to be absolutely thrilled about it. Giddy, almost. When discussing his reaction later that evening, a lightbulb went off for Cathy. She said to Gary “I know why Bill was so excited. Of course, he is happy we asked. But now he will be able to do his Marlon Brando impersonation with the orange peels and say he’s The Godfather!” Bill loved Christy tremendously, always taking an interest in her activities. Bill introduced her to Laurel and Hardy films and classic Warner Brothers cartoons; they spent many times over the last decade enjoying those together. Perhaps their most cherished tradition was their greeting at the Old Saybrook train station when Bill would visit, taking MetroNorth and Shoreline East for 3 hours to make his way. They also enjoyed posing for “silly face” photos together.

Bill enjoyed travelling and visited most major cities in the USA, and also visited Canada, England and Cuba.

Bill was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in 2012. He had a stem cell transplant and several courses of chemotherapy and radiation therapy to treat it. Despite his illness and treatment, Bill rarely missed a day of work, a social gathering, a classic, independent or international film showing, a concert, a play or a baseball game that he was interested in seeing. In May 2020, the disease made itself known as never before; Bill endured 2 months in the hospital with no visitors due to the pandemic. Upon his discharge from Mount Sinai in Manhattan, he came to live with his sister, brother-in-law and niece in Connecticut. Bill was able to have some good days watching films and baseball games, listening to music and reading several books. He was admitted to Yale New Haven Hospital in mid-August, requiring intensive chemotherapy and spinal surgery. He was discharged in early September to his family’s care and requested hospice services on October 16. Bill’s journey rapidly came to its conclusion. Please know he was free from pain and had his family with him at the time of his passing.

Bill is survived by his devoted sister Dr. Catherine Weber and his dear brother-in-law Gary Cooper; his beloved niece Christy Cooper, all of East Lyme, CT; his cousins Mike Garry (wife Sharon), Eileen (Garry) Belgioso (husband the late Raymond), Robyn Hart, Jamie (Hart) Jasinski (husband Richard “Jazz”), Christine Stumpf Herbert (husband Clifford), Rick Weber (wife Heidi), Karen (Weber) Gregson (husband Charles), the late John “Jack” Garry, the late Patricia (Garry) Olsem (husband Jon), and the late Mark Weber (wife Barbara). Bill also is survived by many, many friends in NYC and across the globe. A memorial service will be held when it is safe to do so post-pandemic.

The family would like to thank David Dosik, M.D., Joshua Richter, M.D., Luis Kolb, M.D., Benjamin Newton, M.D., Elizabeth Allard, M.D., PhD., and Sabrina Browning, M.D. and their colleagues for their care of Bill over the years, especially in the last few months. Thanks also to the nursing and support staff of Mount Sinai Hospital, Manhattan, Lawrence and Memorial Hospital, New London, Smilow Cancer Hospital - Yale New Haven Hospital, New Haven and Smilow Cancer Hospital, Waterford.

At Bill’s request, in lieu of flowers, please give of your time and monetary support as you see fit to the following organizations that were near and dear to Bill’s heart:

WFMU - wfmu.org A freeform radio station in NJ that Bill has supported as a volunteer for decades. Many of the DJs are his closest friends. Great bunch of folks.

The Silent Clowns Film Series - silentclowns.com NYC's Longest running showcase for classic silent film comedy. Bill's friends Steve Massa, Ben Model and Bruce Lawton run this series. It is virtual right now but post pandemic they will be back at the NY Library for the Performing Arts at the back of Lincoln Center. Ben plays live accompaniment to the films - it is quite an entertaining and unique experience.

Amnesty International - amnesty.org Amnesty International campaigns to end abuses of human rights all over the globe. Bill has supported this organization since high school.

SABR - sabr.org Society for American Baseball Research This is a global organization for anyone interested in baseball. Bill has been a member for decades. If you love baseball - check them out.

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation - mmrf.org These are the folks who fund research and drug development to treat the disease that Bill has dealt with for the last 8 years. They are a stellar organization.

Tributes from Friends: “A lovable curmudgeon who suffered fools never, Bill radiated a boundless passion for New York City. He was always on the train schlepping off to Citi Field for a Mets game, to MOMA for a classic film, or to Nowhere on 14th for a queer dance party. Because Bill refused to own a cell phone, you were never quite sure if he would show at these places. But he always did, an irreplaceable fixture in the texture of the city who made you want to be a better ambassador for New York.” Kevin Bozelka

“Bill Weber was a man who could sit in a movie theater for nine hours to watch a film about a merchant and his ox and then offer a well-thought-out-critique that captured its essence. He was a man who could dissect the merits of any baseball player who has played in the major leagues, and still loved the Mets. Bill was a man who loved music, who was open to almost all of its manifestations, who showed that love by volunteering at WFMU, and became our good friend because of that love. He was a man who we will dearly miss as his humor, his intelligence, and the hard-to-disguise sweetness of his curmudgeonly love of life cannot be replaced.” Rich Hazelton and Tamar Rothenberg

“Despite his outwardly cynical, ornery, cantankerous demeanor, Bill Weber was one of the most beloved citizens of the tristate area. Bill made every effort to ensure that his work did not encroach on the true passions in his life: film, music, politics, and baseball! (In this regard, he was wildly successful.) We will miss him greatly.” Geoff Marx

“I was bullied as a kid. The moments I shared during recess and lunch with Bill were a refuge. I was safe with him. During a time when I felt like an outcast, he welcomed me. That was everything then. It still is.” Andy Parker

“Among the most original and remarkable people I ever knew coming from Nutley. I was so touched a few years back when Bill came to one of my concerts in NYC, totally unexpectedly. It was my first meeting in person with him probably since high school. He was warm, engaging, supportive, generous. And I’ll miss his humor, (often pointed, but always on point) and our shared political perspectives.” John Rabinowitz

“Bill was a true New York City bon vivant - Mets loyalist, voracious cinema enthusiast (the likes of which I've never known - every day at the movies!) -- he was, and of course, WFMU listener and volunteer. Bill always championed the "underdog". His loyalties never wavered. He was goddamned hilarious and to have him on the barstool next to you was an honor and blessed memory. He was at all of the Kiki and Herb and Magnetic Fields shows but remained a secret fan-boy even in the company of a Stephin Merritt at their favorite bar. Bill and I shared a tacit understanding of the joys of gutter life, illegal/illicit choices and general bad taste while staying a true gentleman.” Pseu Braun

“It’s hard to find words for my sorrow. Bill literally taught me the meaning of “mensch” when he suggested that I was one, and I thought he was being snobby. I will love and miss him forever. He truly was a mensch.” Ray Gish

“Bill was a mensch, a raconteur, a secret teddy bear, and one of our most cherished friends. X-tine and I have known him longer than we’ve known each other. WFMU marathons, Brooklyn bars, Mets games, and countless movies just wouldn’t have been the same without him there. I’ve never laughed as much as when I joined him in singing “The Internationale” while the rest of the crowd at a Derby party was singing “My Old Kentucky Home.”” Chris Aiken

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William J. Weber

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FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

!980 Yearbook photo

FROM THE FAMILY

Bill and Christy PS Kitchen January 2020

FROM THE FAMILY

Christy and Bill PS Kitchen October 2019

FROM THE FAMILY

Christy Cathy Bill NYC Summer 2019

FROM THE FAMILY

Bill and great friends April 2019

FROM THE FAMILY

Bill and Cathy 2018

FROM THE FAMILY

Hello Dolly 2018

FROM THE FAMILY

Bill and Christy Easter 2012

FROM THE FAMILY

Bill's 53rd birthday

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

!980 Yearbook photo

FROM THE FAMILY

Bill and Christy PS Kitchen January 2020

FROM THE FAMILY

Christy and Bill PS Kitchen October 2019

FROM THE FAMILY

Christy Cathy Bill NYC Summer 2019

FROM THE FAMILY

Bill and great friends April 2019

FROM THE FAMILY

Bill and Cathy 2018

FROM THE FAMILY

Hello Dolly 2018

FROM THE FAMILY

Bill and Christy Easter 2012

FROM THE FAMILY

Bill's 53rd birthday

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