Jay W. Weiss, a founder and retired senior executive of Southern Wine and Spirits of America, Inc., Miami, Florida passed away on Saturday, January 31, 2004; he was 76.
Harvey R. Chaplin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Southern Wine and Spirits of America, Inc., said: "Not only was Jay instrumental in establishing Southern Wine and Spirits of America, Inc. and making it the great Company that it is today, but he was also a tremendously generous and kind-hearted individual. Jay was a man who was a great personal friend, a committed supporter of our community here in Miami, as well as of great charities throughout Florida, and a person who cared deeply about our nation and the world we all live in. His intense love of life as well as his great spirit will be missed forever and cherished always by all his friends and colleagues."
Wayne E. Chaplin, President and Chief Operating Officer of Southern Wine and Spirits of America, Inc., said: "I have known Jay since I was growing up, and the high standards that he lived by in both his personal and professional lives, serve as an inspiring example to me and to all who came in contact with him. I join my father, my family and all Jay’s friends and colleagues in extending my sincere condolences to the Weiss family."
Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1927, Mr. Weiss graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in education. Jay and his family moved to Miami in 1948 where he worked with his uncle and father, who operated a variety of bars and lounges.
In 1968, Mr. Weiss, along with other partners including Harvey R. Chaplin, Elliot Dinnerstein, Walter Jahn and Melvin Dick, founded Southern Wine and Spirits of America, Inc. Today, thanks to his vision and relentless energy, Mr. Weiss is widely credited with helping to lay the business foundation of Southern Wine and Spirits of America, Inc. and its rise to its present position as the nation's largest, multi-state wine and spirits distributor in the beverage and hospitality businesses.
A Personal Commitment to Charity Mr. Weiss was also a lifelong contributor to local, state, national and international charitable causes, including: Jackson Memorial Hospital, the University of Miami School of Medicine, the University of Miami/Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Barry University, Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart, the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, and other worthy causes in several other countries around the world, including India and Haiti.
In a "Farewell Letter" addressed to Miami residents in The Miami Herald, Barth A. Green, M.D., Chairman, Department of Neurosurgery, University of Miami, wrote: "As a physician, I had the privilege of working closely with Jay on numerous projects. I consider him my mentor in morality, ethics, social justice and humanitarianism. Jay truly was my professor in many aspects of life."
Mr. Weiss is survived by his loving wife of 25 years, Renee, his three daughters, Jennie Block, Laurie Nuell, Rayanne Weiss and a host of devoted grandchildren and close relatives. Following the wishes of the Weiss family, donations can be sent to the:
Jay W. Weiss Memorial Fund, c/o Nuell and Polsky, P.A., 782 NW 42nd Avenue, Suite 345, Miami, Florida, 33126; (305) 441-1122.