(NEWS ARTICLE) Leroy F. "Lee" Weber, who worked well with elected leaders regardless of party during a long record of public service, including more than a decade as Toledo city treasurer, died Friday in Toledo Hospital. He was 85.
He had congestive heart failure, his son, Rick, said.
Mr. Weber of Point Place retired in 1988 as commissioner of purchases and supplies for the city. His tenure as Toledo treasurer began in 1968. Before that, he was director of the food stamp program for the Lucas County Welfare Department, where earlier he was chief auditor and accountant. From 1952-61, he was a deputy county auditor.
A Democrat, he was known for building rapport across party lines.
"He had an ingratiating personality," said former Mayor Donna Owens, a Republican. "Lee always had a smile on his face. He was a steady, forthright, hardworking commissioner. He had that ability through that personality to talk with everybody."
His son, Rick, said: "He enjoyed politics without being a politician. He liked to work with people. If you were a nice Republican guy, and you and him got along, he supported you 100 percent."
Ties outside city hall contributed to good relations in the everyday rough-and-tumble. In the 1960s, long before Ms. Owens entered public life, she made pancakes at the first German-American Festival, of which Mr. Weber was a leader. Mr. Weber for years played softball. Republicans Andy Douglas, a city councilman and later Ohio Supreme Court justice, and Max Reddish, a city councilman and Lucas County commissioner, also had ties to the sport.
"He was a strong Democrat, but he worked with everybody," said Peter Ujvagi, a Democrat, a former Lucas County administrator and a former councilman. Mr. Weber had ties to multiple communities - ethnic, veterans, athletic, senior citizen - and so elected leaders relied on his opinion before floating a proposal or taking a public stand.
"He wasn't afraid to tell you straight up, and people respected him enough to listen," Mr. Ujvagi said. "He really loved this city, and when he worked for the city, he was really passionate about it."
He enjoyed working behind the scenes.
"He knew, standing in the back and looking on, what was happening," his son said.
In retirement, he served on City Charter review committees and worked for renewal of the temporary 0.75-percent income tax. He was a former chairman of the city athletic commission.
He'd been president and chairman of the German-American Festival Society, of which he was a founding member, and had been an officer in the Bavarian Sports Club. He'd been a leader in the Crime Stopper program and was first president of what is now the Chester J. Zablocki Senior Center.
He was born March 8, 1927, in Altoona, Pa., to Matilda and John Weber. He grew up on Chestnut Street in North Toledo. He was a graduate of Central Catholic High School, where he played basketball and baseball. He attended St. Ambrose College, Davenport, Iowa, and the University of Toledo.
He was a World War II Coast Guard veteran and was active as an officer and member of veterans' groups. In 2005, he was among three veterans who were grand marshals for the traditional Memorial Day parade on Lagrange Street to Mount Carmel Cemetery.
He was executive secretary for 13 years of the Class AA National slow-pitch softball league.
"He went from playing, to watching me play, to watching his great-grandkids playing," his son said. "They kept him busy every day of the week."
Surviving are his wife, Marie "Mary" Weber, whom he married June 24, 1950; son, Rick Weber; daughter, Karen Secord; four grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 2-8 p.m. Tuesday in the David R. Jasin-Hoening Funeral Home, with a Scripture service at 2 p.m. Tuesday. Funeral services will be at noon Wednesday in St. John the Baptist Church, where visitation is to begin at 11 a.m.
The family suggests tributes to Honor Flight of Northwest Ohio.
Contact Mark Zaborney at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6182
Published in Toledo Blade on Feb. 3, 2013