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Jack Weiler


Date and Place of Birth: circa 1920 Johnson City, Tennesee
Date and Place of Death:    March 24, 1943 Bolling Field, Washinton, DC
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Shorstop
Rank: Aviation Radioman First Class
Military Unit: US Navy
Area Served: United States

"Take my nephew Jack Weiler a ball and glove so he can learn to play ball," wrote 7-year-old Geraldine Campbell in a letter to Santa printed in the Johnson City Daily Staff in 1922. Jack was destined to be a ballplayer from a very young age, but destiny meant his life came to an end far to soon.

Jack W. Weiler, the son of Charles J. "Jack" and Eva Weiler was born in Johnson City, Tennessee in 1920. His father operated the soda fountain at the Chambliss-Smith drugstore on the corner of Main and Roan streets in Johnson City, but he was better known for his ballplaying. By the early 1930s, the senior Weiler coached the Johnson City Mills team, and watched his son develop into a fine infielder with the Science Hill High School team. Jack Weiler was coached by his day when he played American Legion junior baseball and went on to play with the Gloria Mills team and then at Milligan College (now Milligan University), Tennessee in 1938.

In January 1939, Jack was signed by Walter Pattee, business manager of the Johnson City Cardinals of the Class D Appalachian League, and spent spring training with the Gastonia Cardinals of the Class D Tar Heel League. Back with Johnson City for the start of the regular season, Weiler was used sparingly by manager Ollie Vanek. "Jack has a wonderful arm," he told the Johnson City Chronicle on May 14, 1939,"and he can field. But for his hitting I don't know. It's hard to tell about these youngsters. After a little experience, and when correction of his batting faults have been made, he may prove a real hitter. He's the nonchalant type and is more than eager to learn. He's picked up a lot already."

Weiler didn't get much time to develop at Johnson City as he was released later that month, joining the Elizabethton Betsy Red Sox of the same league. His stay in Elizabethton was also brief, joining the Logan Indians of the Class D Mountain State League where he saw more playing time, appearing in 33 games and batting .190. Weiler was on the move again in August, joining the Mansfield Braves of the Class D Ohio State League, where he played 21 games and batted .214. One thing Weiler had shown in his rookie season in professional baseball was versatility on the field, playing shortstop, third base, outfield and pitching in at least one game.

When Weiler returned to Johnson City in September 1939. His family had moved to Charleston, South Carolina, where his father had acquired a job as a pipe fitter at the navy yard. Jack wanted to remain in Tennessee, but required employment to do so. When no suitable offers came forward he joined his parents in South Carolina.

1939 was to be Weiler's only year in organized baseball. He joined the U.S. Navy at Norfolk, Virginia in 1940, and had attained the rank of aviation radioman first class by 1943. Aged 23, and engaged to Vurlia Hinkle of Holden, West Virginia, and stationed at Anacostia Naval Air Station in Washington, DC, Weiler was one of four crew members aboard a twin-engined Curtiss R5C-1 Commando that took off from Anacostia on a test flight on March 24, 1943. The aircraft, piloted by Assistant Flight Test Officer Major Albert H. Bohne, stalled just after take-off and crashed on the runway of Bolling Field, the Army Air Force facility that was immedialtely south of Anacostia. Engulfed in flames, there were no survivors.

Jack Weiler's body was returned to Johnson City. A funeral service was held at Munsey Memorial Church on March 28, and he was buried at Monte Vista Memorial Park.

Jack Wells Weiler

Date Added May 5, 2022

Thanks to Jack Morris for "discovering" Jack Weiler.

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