The Mercury News is reporting on its website that Leigh Weimers, a columnist who had been at that newspaper for 47 years, died this morning at age 76.

On an Aug. 28 entry on his blog, Weimers said he was going to have surgery Wednesday to repair or replace a valve in his heart.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Weimers retired on his 70th birthday, Nov. 11, 2005.

From the obit the Merc posted today:

    “He was a class act — a smart journalist, a courtly gentleman and a real champion for arts and culture in the valley and for his alma mater,” said Linda Zavoral, assistant features editor for the Mercury News and, like Weimers, a former Spartan Daily editor. “When he walked out of the Mercury News on his retirement day, he walked out to a standing ovation from the entire newsroom, and lots of tears.” 
    Weimers began his career as a general assignment reporter in 1958, when San Jose’s population was 148,200. He started writing a column for the paper in 1965. 
    Raised in Napa, Weimers graduated in 1957 from San Jose State University, where he edited the Spartan Daily.

    After his retirement from the paper, he continued to write for a local magazine and on his blog.

UPDATE, FRIDAY (8/31) 11 A.M.: Here’s the obit Sal Pizarro of the Merc posted:

    He was known as “Mr. San Jose” in part because he knew everyone but mostly because of his sincere belief in the city’s ability to become a great metropolitan area. He was a founding member of the Silicon Valley Capital Club and a member of the downtown San Jose Rotary Club for more than 30 years.

And here’s a link to Leigh’s final column on Nov. 13, 2005. He ended the column by talking about what he planned to do next:

    On a personal level, people ask what I’m going to do now that my 47-year Mercury career is ending. I tell them, two things for sure: In the morning I’m going to turn off the alarm. And when I do get up, I’ll start practicing the piano. All and any future projects still are under consideration, but I’ve always wanted to spiff up my piano skills, and now I’ll have time to do that. If I can become a halfway decent saloon pianist, I’ll be very happy.
Bay Area Media News

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