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Farewell to an FPI Friend

If you read this blog, or know me at all, you know I’ve been at FPI for a long time, and over those years, I’ve met a tremendous number of people. Some were fleeting acquaintances, and others, grew to be friends. Mike Weir was one of my friends, and sadly, he passed away last week. I’d like to honor his memory by letting you know more about him and his role in FPI history.

I realize many of you don’t know who Mike is, but he was part of the FPI family for nearly forty years (that certainly trumps my 17 years!). Mike joined FPI as our legal counsel back in September 1969. Of course, back then we were then known as the Paper Cup and Container Institute, and our offices were in New York City. Mike worked with Chadbourne & Parke LLP at the time, before moving to Whitman Breed Abbott & Morgan some years later. [That would be why our legal counsel is based in Connecticut, and not Washington, DC, like many other associations. Ever wondered about that?]

Mike came to us after graduating from Yale University, followed by University of Pennsylvania Law School. He served in the Coast Guard briefly, followed by the Marines, where he was a Marine Second Lieutenant, training for a land invasion of Japan before the atomic bombs were dropped. He was admitted to practice law in New York in 1951, but his legal career had barely started before he was called back into service for the Korean Conflict. He was extremely proud of his service as a Marine and was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps after Korea as a Major.

Perhaps it was his time in the service, but Mike had a fervent commitment to fitness. While he was an avid tennis player (as we often talked about since that’s my sport of choice), it was his devotion to running that most people knew about. He ran until he was about 80, and for any of you FPI members who remember Mike, you will probably recall him popping into breakfast at one of our semi-annual meetings after his morning run. Pale legs and tight running shorts were on full display! I can picture him clear as day.

Another thing I remember about Mike was his adoration for his lovely wife, Deborah. She was often at his side at our meetings, and when she wasn’t, you knew she wasn’t far from his mind. Mike traveled quite a bit, especially for his association clients, and one funny thing I remember about him is that he’d always wear two watches – one with the local time on one wrist and one with the time in Connecticut on the other wrist. Anyone else remember that about Mike?

"As important as his wife, kids and grandkids were, I think he viewed his association clients as part of his family," shared Tony Macleod, FPI’s current legal counsel. "Whenever we saw each other after I had taken over for him, he would ask how each association was doing and how people he knew were doing. He didn’t really need me to keep him informed, because he would often say things like, 'I see that the next meeting of ___ will be in ___' or ‘so, you’re going to Europe or Japan’ or whatever this year."

Mike did have many association clients, mostly in the forest and paper products industries (including the precursor to today’s American Forest & Paper Association). He represented at least one trade association for 50 years, and several, like FPI, for periods in the 40 year range. He “officially” retired from FPI work in October 2005, after handing over the reins to Tony. And while he was no longer at FPI meetings, we kept in touch from time to time. In fact, I spoke with Mike and Deb just last year. I asked if he was still running, but he had to admit that he finally had to give that up. After all, he was 90.

I am honored to have known Mike Weir, and so appreciative for his dedication to our country, FPI and our industry. Our collective thoughts and prayers go out to his family and those closest to him, especially Tony Macleod.

If you would like to send your condolences to Deborah Weir, please email me for more details.

Posted By Lynn M. Dyer (President) | 3/25/2015 1:13:29 PM