An Appreciation: Christopher G. Weisz

By Dan Brosgol

A few years ago, during the winter when we got over 100 inches of snow, one of the blizzards was in full swing when our furnace suddenly stopped working.

You can imagine how freaked out I was, as those of you who know me know that I am not good at fixing things beyond faucets, but luckily I had an amazing friend who knew how to fix anything who hopped out in the snowdrifts, walked down the street, and was at my house not 15 minutes later— and had the furnace working in about two minutes.

Christopher Weisz – Courtesy image, all rights reserved

Obviously, that friend was Chris Weisz.

Chris was a remarkable guy. He could literally repair, or build, anything, and just in these past few days people who knew him have been sharing stories with me about how he helped out with this project or that project or had kids use his tools to help with their Destination Imagination projects, or helped set up a home surround sound system, or hauled stuff around for the Scouts. I asked him once if he had a spare piece of plywood that he could cut to precise measurements for me and it was at our house, not an hour later.

But Chris was so much more than the guy that knew how to make things. That is just the beginning.

I first met Chris through baseball 8 years ago when he coached a Farm League team that included his son, Logan, then in second grade, and my son James, who was first grade. We were friendly that year, and the following year Chris was coaching in the National League when he called up James to play for the Astros. Two years later, Chris drafted James on Dodgers, and I remember emailing him saying that my wife, Elizabeth, and I were so happy to have him again as the coach, as we knew him to be a decent, fair guy that wouldn’t take himself too seriously.

Then, one famous night somewhere around June of that year, my wife suggested that I see if Chris wanted to hang out after a particularly painful loss- the kind of loss you can only experience with 8- and 9-year old kids playing baseball. It felt a little awkward, asking Chris out on a date, so to speak, but to my surprise, he not only said yes, but also agreed that we should run, and then hang out afterward at his house.

And so began a multi-year stretch in which we would coach baseball together, run together, and perhaps most importantly, spend many a night in his kitchen, talking about baseball, yes, but then spinning off into conversations about anything and everything- politics, foreign policy, running, Israel and Judaism, life and family, goings-on in Bedford, his upbringing in Candor, you name it. It got to the point when I would head over there at 9:30 pm and get back at 1 or 2 in the morning, and my wife would ask “what were you doing over there?”

“Talking,” I would say. And that was the truth.

I loved talking to Chris. He was well-read, incredibly articulate, formulated his opinions carefully, and seemed to have a deep knowledge of… everything, really. And the funny thing is that we held opposing viewpoints on most political questions, but it didn’t matter at all, because we both respected each other and were able to forge such a strong connection that the politics didn’t matter at all, because what mattered to Chris, at the end of the day, was doing the right thing. That belief inspired him to volunteer his time freely, both for the Scouts and youth sports, but also to the Town of Bedford, where he served on the Historic District Commission, the Cable TV committee, and had his eyes on the Capital Expenditure Committee as well.

Beyond our friendship, Chris and his family were an important part of my life, and our family’s life, through many happy occasions. When our last two kids were born in 2012 and 2014, the Weisz house was one of our first stops, and Chris took particular joy in holding the newborns. We also spent a handful of Christmas Eves there as well, celebrating, eating, and having legendary Rock Band competitions late into the night, usually featuring him egging everyone else on to sing as he used the guitar. I’ll never forget the most epic Rock Band night when I think I sang “Don’t Look Back In Anger” by Oasis about 10 times, including the last few in a British accent, as Chris just laughed in the background and I went for maximum points.

In those countless hours I spent with Chris, I also got to know his wonderful family- Alexis, Logan, Maxwell, and Grace- and saw the great pride Chris took in the life and home he made with Alexis. Whether he was bragging about Logan’s wrestling or burgeoning engineering and building skills, taking pride in Maxwell’s baseball achievements, or singing the praises of Grace’s baking, Chris loved his kids and talked about them all the time. He was a regular at their games and events, always balancing his work and travel schedule to be home as much as possible, and in his spare time, that wasn’t really spare time, worked constantly to make his beautiful home even more beautiful for Alexis- cutting glass and making new windows, redoing the bathrooms, building the new walkway up the house, and so much more. Chris was never satisfied. He always wanted to do more.

I spent many nights with Chris, but perhaps the most famous one took place in the dead of winter when Chris had a forge going in the side yard and a fire pit going out back. Alex was over, as well as Chris’ father, and we were outside from about 10 at night until literally 3 in the morning, just talking and huddling around the fire as snow flurried around us and as the forge was roaring. Sometime around 3:00 the police showed up, wondering what in the world we were doing outside, and the officer hopped out of the cruiser and just loved the fact that Chris was fashioning tongs in that forge. We all had a good laugh, and eventually, I went home.But that night captured so much of what we all loved about Chris- his big heart and generous hospitality, his love of making things, his strong sense of family, and his desire to laugh and have a good time. I loved that night and we always talked about it, as well as the time he and Peter Ricci loaded up a potato gun at Page Field and let me take batting practice on potato bits shot at me at 60 miles per hour. That was another classic.

But of all the times we shared together, the one I will remember most poignantly was when he came to the funeral of my mother two years ago. In Judaism, one of the most important good deeds you can perform is to comfort those who are mourning, and on that day, he not only attended the service but also came to cemetery to help with the burial, as in our tradition the mourners are asked to help shovel the earth over the casket. And Chris was not content to take his one turn; he, along with James, and another close friend, each took several minutes to complete the job, wanting to make sure that the task was done, and done well, to exacting standards.

And that was Chris. A dear friend, someone who would always do his best to finish a job, and someone I was just so proud to know.

I, along with all of you, will miss him every day, and will never forget him.

Alexis, Logan, Maxwell, and Grace- we will always be here for you, and I and our family will be right down the street whenever you need us, as will all the people in Bedford and in your lives who loved Chris and love you as well.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Christopher Weisz Family Support Trust at Middlesex Savings Bank, 186 Great Road, Ste. 1, Bedford, MA 01730.

 


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