The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

As we sat in the newsroom late on Saturday night, I watched the tears roll down the face of my friend.

Linda Fogus, who graduated with me from Jefferson back in 1981, was telling stories about her friend, Jesse Weaver, who passed away on Friday.

Since Linda and I began working together again a few years ago, one of the things we’ve had in common are some of the people in our pasts.

Mr. Weaver, whom Linda had grown close to through the years and helped care for the past several years, was one of the precious few individuals who talked the talk and walked the walk.

His tales were amazing, often hilarious, but always captivating.

The best part is, they were true.

If you doubt the validity of that statement, just read the comments from Dr. Charles Curie in the feature by Karl Pearson about Mr. Weaver’s life and death that accompanies this column.

Obviously, we’ve lost a remarkable man. But as I talked with Linda, whose wacky sense of humor helps bring some rays of sunshine into our windowless office here at the Beacon on a daily basis, it was clear she lost much more than that.

Mr. Weaver had become sort of a father figure for her and his passing hurt.

It was ironic because two nights before, the same tears were flowing from the guy who sits in this chair.

My great uncle, Mario, one of the few relatives I have left, passed at age 87. Like Mr. Weaver to Linda, Uncle Mario had become very much a father figure for my mom.

When Mom passed in September 1998, we were all crestfallen. But for Uncle Mario, it was more than that. He couldn’t fathom why it was her time instead of his.

“This just isn’t right,” he said as he sat at my kitchen table the day before Mom’s memorial service. “It should have been me. She had too much to live for.”

This July, when his daughter, Joycie, brought him up from Bridgeport to visit my sister, Jodie, her husband, Brad, and their sons, Cody and Logan, he had one request before leaving.

“Do you think it would be OK to go see Syl’s stone?” he asked, almost as if he actually expected to be told no.

Upon arrival at the cemetery, he said to Joycie, “Isn’t this the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?”

Uncle Mario, who like Mr. Weaver had been in declining health the past few years, very rarely cried. But Joycie told Jodie the big-hearted man shed more than a few tears on the drive home.

It’s almost as if he knew his time was nearing.

The worst part of getting older is losing people in our lives who have played such big parts. How do we fill the holes in our hearts their departures leave?

I guess when it comes to people like Mr. Weaver and Uncle Mario, they can’t be replaced... it’s just not possible.

Perhaps all we can do is try to pass on the love and lessons they dispensed to us, and most importantly, try to leave this world as they did — a better place for them having been here.

McCormack is the sports editor of the Star Beacon. Reach him at

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