Michael David Weiss of Milford, an educator and tireless advocate for the community, died on Tuesday, Jan. 5.
“He did in life that which was most important to his being,” Father Van Bankston of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church told the Courier on Wednesday.
“I met with Mickey and Donna as his sickness progressed,” he said. “In the latter days, it was a blessing to be able to tell Mickey how much I admired him and thought him to be so very brave.”
Weiss’s wife, Donna, asks those who knew him to write a sentence — just one sentence — about a memory, a feeling, or something that happened to them because of him. The sentence will be included in a montage at a memorial service to be held in June. She hopes that, by that time, social distancing rules will be relaxed. Send your sentence to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A passion for teaching
Weiss was born in the Bronx and taught there for three years. He then received a master’s degree in educational administration and went on to teach science teachers.
He brought his passion for teaching to Milford, where he worked hard to educate people about the dangers of tick-borne illness, which is a scourge in Pike County. He helped start the Pike County Tick Borne Disease Taskforce in 2015. In 2019 he was honored by the area’s representatives in the Pennsylvania legislature and by the county commissioners.
“Without Mikki’s determination in forging strategic partnerships that have helped to drive the Task Force forward, we would not be where we are today,” said Commissioner Chairman Matthew Osterberg at the time. “Pike County residents will share a healthier future because of Mikki’s commitment to alleviating this epidemic.”
In addition to the task force, he assisted in the creation of the TBD Task Force website and the highly successful 2015 Tick Symposium. He initiated the county-wide tick study and assisted in the creation of the Wayne Memorial Hospital TBD Wellness Center.
A true friend
Weiss was also an advocate for transgender relations. Simone Kraus, vice president of the TriVersity Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity, shared her thoughts upon the passing of her dear friend: “We met at a support group meeting. There was an instant attraction. Like we each knew the other before. A past life or maybe each of us had a familiarity of people we knew from out past similar to us. Mikki had the swagger and stature of some of the men I worked with over the years. I reminded him of a very dear friend of his from his past. Mildred was her name. And Mikki swore I was his dear friend who had passed on sometime ago and had returned to him...
“Mikki and I became fast friends. He would ask for tips on male socialization and the nuances that came with it. As I explained I wasn’t good at that at all. But I did teach him some less than proper phrase’s and words from my blue collar background. And he would tell me later how well they went over with his male buddies. And there was one phrase I would utter and Mikki would always burst out laughing. I learned from Mikki, the loneliness of being different and if found out through the era’s he grew up...
“I will miss his laugh and the drawn out ‘Oh Simone’ tinged with a New Yawker accent. I cry now for I will miss my friend.”
Editor’s note: The day of death was correct in the original story, but not the date. This story has been updated to correct the date, which is Jan. 5. The Courier regrets the error.
“He did in life that which was most important to his being,” Father Van Bankston of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church