Robert F. Weis, 96, the principal figure in the growth and continued success of Weis Markets, died October 20, 2015.
A lifelong Sunbury, PA resident, Robert Weis was born on June 10, 1919 to Harry and Stella Freeman Weis in the town where his father and his uncle, Sigmund, opened their first store, known as Weis Pure Foods, in 1912. In the years that followed, the two brothers opened stores throughout central Pennsylvania. Robert Weis worked in his family’s stores where he operated a cash register in his younger years and later bagged produce and delivered groceries to customers.
Following his graduation from Yale University in 1941, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and ultimately attained the rank of captain.
At the end of World War II, he returned to Weis markets and worked in positions such as operations, distribution, marketing, procurement, human resources, real estate and store construction. Eventually, he oversaw the company’s finances, real estate and store construction.
Mr. Weis helped oversee the company’s growth and expansion into six states. In 1995, he became Chairman of Weis Markets, Inc. He oversaw major growth and expansion, acquiring 11 supermarkets, upgrading more than 100, and opening nine new stores.
Mr. Weis and his wife, Patricia, were married for 57 years. They are the parents of three children: Jonathan Weis, who serves as Weis Markets’ Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, and is married to Analisa Barreto Weis; Colleen Ross Weis of New York City, who is a 20th century decorative arts specialist and married to Martin Laiks; and Jennifer Weis Monsky, also of New York City. Jennifer is executive editor at St. Martin’s Press and married to John R. Monsky. Mr. Weis is also survived by nine grandchildren and a sister, Ellen Wasserman of Baltimore.
The family is widely known for its philanthrophy throughout the community.
Weis Markets operates 163 stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia. In 2014, the company generated $2.8 billion in revenues.