Tag Archives: Ron Weir

Remembering Ron Weir

Generations of Westporters knew Ron Weir. For decades he was a big, gruff-looking — but gentle, soft-hearted — physical education teacher at Coleytown Junior High and Middle Schools.

Ron died on Monday. Word came in a brief email from a fellow Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club member. For the past couple of years, he lived very quietly in a nursing home.

Ron coached football and other sports when the 3 Westport junior highs had interscholastic teams. He was tough and hard, and his teams were good. He loved his players, and would do anything for them.

Ron Weir (standing, top left) and the 1972 Coleytown Junior High School football team.

Ron Weir (standing, top left) and the 1972 Coleytown Junior High School football team.

But as a teacher, he was the opposite. He took equal interest in the scrawny, shy little boys — and, after gym classes became coed, the girls he had never before known or had to teach. He tried to give every kid confidence, and wanted every child to love phys ed.

Ron may be best known for his wrestling tournament. Every year at Christmas — right around this time — he organized a school-wide event. It was asking a lot of 12- and 13-year-olds to go out on the mat, with all their friends and teachers watching. But for many — win or lose — it was an experience they’ll never forget.

Every year, I refereed that tournament. And every year — right after the final match — Ron and his wife Val thanked me, by taking me out to lunch.

At Le Chambord.

That was an elegant French restaurant in Westport. Other diners might have thought us an incongruous trio: me, gym teacher Ron, and his wife Val — also a PE instructor, but as petite and demure as Ron was big and brash.

Ron Weir, in the early 1970s. (Courtesy Laura Bloom)

Ron Weir, in the early 1970s. (Courtesy Laura Bloom)

That was a side of Ron Weir that few people saw. He was a talented cook, and a wine connoisseur. He grew up in a blue collar New Jersey town, and thought he’d be a bricklayer until the University of Bridgeport opened his eyes to the possibility of teaching.

He also loved animals. Val turned their Redding home into a menagerie, and Ron happily helped out.

He loved his boat too. He was a frequent presence at his club, telling stories and cooking. One summer evening, I met him there. He took me out on the Sound, then up the Saugatuck River. We docked at the Mooring restaurant, and had a memorable meal. (He ordered really, really good wine.)

Ron spent his last years in relative obscurity. A couple of former football players and boat club members were regular visitors, but no one else. Val died a number of years ago.

There has been no obituary. According to the email sent by his boat club, he is survived by one sister. And, it says, “per Ron’s wishes there will be no formal funeral arrangements.”

A Humane Policy?

In his long career as a Coleytown Middle School phys ed. teacher, Ron Weir was well known for lavishing care and attention on every child.

Less well known is his interest in animals.  But that’s an important interest too.  Over the years, Ron has adopted 5 dogs from the Westport branch of the Connecticut Humane Society.

A couple of months ago, he picked up an 8-year-old dalmatian mix.

The man Ron hired to install an invisible fence on his property said the dog had “kennel cough.”  The next day, Ron took Precious to the vet.  The dog was diagnosed with heartworm.

The Humane Society has a 30-day policy for visiting a vet.  Ron called the Society, and described the potentially fatal parasitic disease.  The Humane Society said to bring the dog back.

His vet, however, said that — because of Precious’ age and illness — that meant it would be euthanized.

“I love this animal,” Ron says.  “That’s unacceptable.”

He took Precious to several veterinarians.  One — a heart specialist in Shelton — thinks he can save the dog.

Ron had spent $250 on a Humane Society insurance policy.  But it paid only $1,500.  So far, Ron has paid about $6,000 for the animal’s care.

He called the Humane Society in Westport — and the state office — to see if they could help with medical expenses.

“The dog came from North Carolina,” Ron says.  “My vet said there’s a lot of heartworm down there.  But the Humane  Society never checked for it.”

I called the Westport Humane Society, and asked about its policy if — after adoption — one of its animals is found to have a disease.

“We don’t provide care,” a spokeswoman said.  “All animals are spayed, neutered, and current in their shots.”

So, I continued, an owner has to pick up all medical expenses for a dog rescued from its facility?

“Of course,” she replied.

Ron thinks it’s unfair that the dog was not tested for an endemic disease like heartworm.

But, he says, he won’t let Precious be put down.

“I love her,” he says.  “I’m not going to lose her.”

(A reader asked if she could contribute funds to Precious’s care.  Ron Weir’s address is Box 488, Redding Ridge, CT 06876.)