Ernest John Weller
May 1, 1923 – October 30, 2018
Ernest (John) Weller, 95, entered into rest on October 30, 2018, in San Jose, CA, following a brief illness. Beloved husband to Jo Weller. Loving father of William, John and James. Father-in-law of Bernadette, Carol and Dawn. Devoted grandfather of Emily, Kathleen, David and Benjamin. Uncle to many nieces and nephews.
Born in Hollister in 1923, the son of Ernest and Lillian Weller, and brother of Jeanne Weller Kolb, John lived in San Jose for 90 years. He attended Horace Mann Grammar, Roosevelt Jr. High, San Jose High School and San Jose State University. Called to duty in March 1943, John was a 1st Lt. Celestial Navigator on a B-24 named “Jeeter Bug” with 38 combat missions in the Pacific, China and Japan. He also served in the Air Force Reserve from 1943 – 1951.
After the war, John received a B.A. degree in economics from Stanford University. He began his career at Zellerbach Paper Company, where he worked for 38 years. Married to Jo in 1953, they recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.
Retiring from corporate life in 1986, John began a second career as a volunteer, helping with Christmas in the Park, Second Harvest Food Bank, Rep. Tom Campbell’s office, and he also volunteered for senior and low income tax preparation.Throughout his life, he was a devoted lector and usher at St. Christopher Catholic Church.
Friends are invited to attend a Vigil Service on Wednesday November 7, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. at Lima Family Erickson Memorial Chapel, 710 Willow Street, San Jose. A funeral mass will be celebrated at 4:00 p.m. on November 8, 2018 at St. Christopher Church, 1576 Curtner Avenue, San Jose. Private burial for immediate family.
Donations in lieu of flowers man be made in his memory to World Vision.
- Visitation Wednesday, November 7, 2018
- Rosary Wednesday, November 7, 2018
- Funeral Service Thursday, November 8, 2018
Ernest John Weller
November 6, 2018
I only met John and Jo Weller less than 10 years ago, but in that short time our relationship became a richly rewarding one for me. I first heard about John when watching a PBS documentary about the World War II “Jeeter Bug” B-24 bomber crew. John was a main interviewee in the story about the plane that had crash landed on Iwo Jima in the middle of a firefight in March of 1945.
Both John and my dad had been B-24 navigators in the Pacific Theater. My father passed away in 2002 before I had the opportunity to ask him about his war experience. I wanted to know more, so I got in touch with John. When I called him, I was bowled over by his kindness and generosity.
On my first visit to the Weller home, I was welcomed warmly. He had amassed a plethora of material about the Jeeter Bug experience. He was patient and fully engaged and willing to painstakingly explain every technical and pertinent detail about navigating in a B-24.
At the end of the visit, John told me that he and other crew members were seeking a writer to compile their stories into a comprehensive book. At that moment, I knew I wanted to be that writer and I told him so.
John put me in touch with the crew members who were still alive and the wives and children of those who had passed away. The entire experience came to a conclusion in June of 2013 when the book, Brothers at Daybreak, was published. I was thrilled, and so was John. As it turned out, John was the last survivor of the Jeeter Bug crew.
I was fortunate to speak with John on the phone a few weeks before he passed away. He reminded me of the glorious time we had producing the book.
I will miss my visits and phone conversations with John, and I will cherish my memories of the transcendent hours I spent with him and Jo. I will be forever grateful to John and Jo for welcoming me into their life.