“There are some things you just have always wanted to do. For me, it was playing the violin.”
“I can’t live without music, and this is a gift to everyone at The Selfhelp Home: residents, their families, our volunteers, and all of our friends.”
This year, Dr. Howard Weiss made the “gift of his lifetime,” a tribute to one of the things he valued most at The Selfhelp Home, the music. In 2020, the Sunday concert series will be named in memory of Howard Weiss and his late wife, Marillyn.
Selfhelp took care of Marillyn in her later years of deteriorating health. Howard was living independently but was a fixture at the home, helping to care for his beloved wife, joining her at every meal, at every Sunday concert, and leading the sing-along in the Social Hall, with volunteer and now-resident Bill Kaplan at the piano.
After Marillyn’s death, Howard moved in. Selfhelp was his family and he belonged here.
Many Chicagoans are familiar with Howard, a pediatrician and co-founder of North Side Pediatrics. He founded the practice with Pearl Gollin, M.D., – a partnership that was ahead of its time, when few women were practicing medicine or equity partners in a medical practice. The practice was sold in the 1980s to an all-women medical team.
In their day, Marillyn Weiss kept the books and ran the reception area, and all who knew her remembered her striking red hair and assertive but kindly demeanor at the front desk, keeping order in a crowded waiting room of mostly mothers and their restless children. Marillyn was also an accomplished pianist.
Howard’s father emigrated from Lithuania to Pennsylvania with little education. Outside Pittsburgh, he opened a furniture store and raised a blended family with his second wife. The three brothers, Allen, Benny and Howard, played violin or piano and all became doctors. Howard gave up his violin when he entered medical school, but his passion for the arts never diminished. The symphony and the opera were his and Marillyn’s respite from full and chaotic lives.
“Everything happens for a reason,” says Howard. “I’ve picked up my violin again and this gift to Selfhelp represents a cycle in my life that is my destiny.”