MARSHALL - The son and nephew of the founders of the original Weiner Memorial Medical Center and close friend to Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax, David Weiner, died Thursday, June 7. His funeral service took place Tuesday in Minneapolis.
At the time of his death, Weiner lived in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 73.
Weiner moved from Marshall to Beverly Hills, Calif., in 1947, according to his obituary. After graduating from UCLA with a degree in business management and economics, he was brought by his father, Julius, to Marshall, despite the lure of nearly a dozen pro baseball contract offers. In Marshall, David Weiner joined Marshall Foods, Inc., a family-owned powdered egg, meat processing and dry goods distribution business. He then became a director of WMMC, which was founded by his father and his uncle, Ben, and named for his grandfather, Louis.
Ron Jensen, a former hospital administrator who moved from Marshall to Park Rapids in 2000, called Weiner a professional, well-educated prominent businessman who brought a lot of sound insight to the five-member hospital board.
"He was pretty up to snuff about what was happening in health care, really all over the country since he really had his bearings down in California," Jensen said. "He brought a lot of good insight to the board. The others really respected him as a board member."
Louis Weiner Memorial Hospital opened in 1950.
The medical center formed a partnership with Avera Health in 2004, and the hospital was renamed Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center, the Avera website said. The hospital retained the name Avera Louis Weiner Memorial Hospital. In 2009, the Marshall City Council voted to sell the municipal hospital to the Avera system, and the official change in ownership occurred in November of that year.
Jensen, who served as the hospital's CEO from 1970-1998, said Weiner played a key role in ending an electrician's strike during construction of WMMC, which would open in 1977. David Weiner used his influence at the state level, Jensen said, to help settle the union-related strike.
"David was pretty helpful in getting that settled, even with living in Minneapolis at the time," said Jensen. "He was pretty influential at the state level, so he knew some people to call to get the ball rolling."
David Weiner was also a minority owner of the Minnesota Vikings from 1967-1987, and one time invited Jensen and his wife and some others from Marshall to attend a home game in his suite.
Jack Schultz, who owned Wilson O'Brien in Marshall from 1966-84, said David Weiner bought former Vikings head coach Norm Van Brocklin's preferred stock in the team and later sold it to Irwin Jacobs and Carl Pohlad. Schultz said it was that stock that allowed Jacobs and Pohlad to eventually own the Vikings.
Schultz lived in the same neighborhood in Marshall as David Weiner, and although a professional relationship never existed between the two, they became very close friends who would at times find themselves flying around the country together in David Weiner's prop jet.
"He was a very interesting fellow," Schultz said. "He was insecure in many ways but very benevolent, very charismatic. He was a complicated person. He could be very obnoxious in one breath and, in the next, the most kind, considerate person you would ever want to meet."
David Weiner's compassion for those close to him could best be characterized, Schultz said, when in 1975 after Schultz was involved in a car crash that took the life of his 7-year-old son and left him paralyzed, David Weiner sent his corporate jet to Park Rapids and flew the family back to WMMC.
"His kindness is a subject that many people could reflect on, so many kind acts," Schultz said.
David Weiner's philanthropic contributions through his David J. Weiner Foundation aided war veterans, the homeless, boys and girls clubs, cancer patients, the Minneapolis Heart Institute and Holocaust survivors.