John Norman Weiss, 84, of Southampton, a World War II prisoner of war, Realtor, and flying enthusiast, died of lung cancer Sunday at Abington Memorial Hospital Hospice.
Mr. Weiss grew up in Abington and graduated from Friends Select School.
During World War II, he served in the Army Air Force as a navigator aboard B-24 bombers. In 1944 he was forced to bail out on a mission over Yugoslavia, injured his head, and was captured. For nine months he was a prisoner of war in camps in Germany. In the dead of winter, he and the other captives were forced to march from one camp to another ahead of advancing Allies, and he suffered frostbite, his son Robert said. The prisoners subsisted on meager rations, including soup made of sawdust, before being liberated by Gen. George S. Patton's Third Army.
Mr. Weiss received an Air Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster and a Purple Heart, and was invited to join the Caterpillar Club, an association of fliers who survived parachute jumps from disabled planes.
After his discharge, Mr. Weiss married Elizabeth "E.B." Matthewson. The couple had met as teens at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, where her father was the Navy commander and his father was fire chief.
Mr. Weiss earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1949 and worked for Burroughs Corp. for two years before joining his uncle Jules Cegielkowski's real estate and insurance firm in Rockledge. The firm became John N. Weiss Realtors in the 1970s. His sons Robert and John Jr. joined him in the business and took it over when he retired in 1982.
Mr. Weiss had held a pilot's license since 1955 and flew his Piper Comanche until he was in his mid-70s. His wife became a pilot to assist her husband on their frequent flights, including to the Bahamas, California, Labrador, and their vacation home in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Often the couple included their grandchildren on their trips, their son said. They also traveled by commercial jet to Europe, Asia and South America, and organized cruises for as many as two dozen family members. Mr. Weiss was his wife's caregiver for 20 months when she became ill. She died in May 1995.
In addition to his sons, he is survived by another son, Stephen; a daughter, Nancy Skyrm; nine grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and his companion, Peg McKee.
The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Monday at Grace Presbyterian Church, 444 Old York Rd., Jenkintown. Friends may call from 10 a.m.
Memorial donations may be made to Abington Memorial Hospital Hospice, Fund Development, 1200 Old York Rd., Abington, Pa. 19001.