Richard Howard “Dick” Weaver, who with his then-wife, Thelma Jean “T.J.” Weaver, received the 2005 Alice B. Tompkins Community Service Award, died this month from congestive heart failure. Weaver was remembered as a “big bear of a man” with a “gentle soul,” who served with the U.S. Air Force and was committed to community groups and causes.
Weaver died July 14, at age 80, said his wife, Elizabeth “Beth” Weaver. Weaver served in both the Korean and Vietnam wars and is remembered as a devoted family man.
“He loved T.J. and I respected that and I told him at the end that if he needed to go it was time for me to turn him back over to her,” said Weaver, who married the widower in 2012. “I didn’t want to, because I was going to miss him so badly.”
“He was very gentle, yet he was very stern, as you would think an Air Force person would be,” she added. “He loved his children very, very much. He was a great father, a great grandfather and a great, great-grandfather. I don’t think that there is anyone who knew him who didn’t respect him.”
Count among those who remember Weaver fondly members of the Community Roundtable, which was founded almost 60 years ago as the Roundtable Charities of Greater Brandon, or Presidents Roundtable. For years, Dick Weaver served as the treasurer of the group, which serves as an umbrella organization for area charities and nonprofit groups, and runs the annual Greater Brandon Fourth of July Parade, Community Affairs Dinner and race for honorary mayor of Brandon.
The group also is responsible for selecting each year’s Alice B. Tompkins Community Service Award recipient.
“Dick was always a strong influence in the roundtable,” said Janine Nickerson, the group’s vice president. “He had very strong ideas and as treasurer kept a tight rein on the money. He was very much the voice of reason and he always had a smile on his face.”
“He was just a big bear of a man, just always very nice,” added Community Roundtable President Sam Creasman. “He served as the treasurer for many years, as a board member when the roundtable had no money. The board members would reach into their own pockets to fish out a $20 bill to buy postage stamps if they were going to mail something out.”
Creasman said Weaver would lead by quiet authority.
“He certainly was not one to hog the limelight,” Creasman said. “He was always a quiet, but strong, presence in the room. When Dick spoke people stopped and listened because he didn’t run off at the mouth all the time. So when he said something he obviously felt it was important enough to speak up. People would stop and listen because that was the effect he had on them.”
In one such instance, Weaver, with Vietnam veteran Frank Krzanowski, worked to ensure that when the “William H. Bullock Memorial Post 4340 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States” closed down in Brandon after more than 50 years of history, its remaining funds would be distributed to community nonprofit groups and organizations.
At the time, Weaver insisted that the post be remembered for its full name, and not simply, “VFW Brandon Post 4340.” He told a reporter that 12 members were in attendance at the post’s last meeting, representing a post of 117 members, many of whom had since moved out of town. At one time, he added, the post had 240 members.
“Dick’s main idea was always about fair play,” Creasman said. “When the VFW had to disband because they just didn’t have enough members to keep it going, he was the treasurer for that group. He made sure every single penny of that money was donated to some group or organization that needed the money and did good work.”
According to his obituary, Weaver was born Sept. 17, 1933, in Sterling, Ill. He entered the U.S. Air Force after graduation from Clinton High School in Iowa. He served 21 years and retired as a master sergeant. He was a life member of the VFW and served Brandon Post 4340 and Riverview Post 8108.
A memorial service is scheduled for 10 a.m. today at First United Methodist Church in Brandon, at 121 N. Knights Ave. Weaver will be laid to rest at Bushnell National Cemetery in Bushnell.