Ex-Duquesne police chief didn't back down
Little did a burglar realize when he broke into a hotel room occupied by police chiefs that his criminal career was about to come to a halt.
"Dad was attending the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association convention in Scranton in 1953 when the incident occurred," said William Weir. "Although dad was stabbed in the abdomen and bleeding, he managed to fracture the burglar's arm and arrest him."
Walter F. Weir Sr., of West Mifflin and formerly of Duquesne where he once served as police chief, died Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2006, at home. He was 93.
William Weir said his father was stern, yet gentle, when with his family.
"But when Dad was on duty, he was a tough, no-nonsense cop who never backed away from a serious situation, such as confronting and breaking up a crime ring that was terrorizing Duquesne.
"When anyone praised him for his accomplishments, Dad would say, 'It's my job.'
"As kids, my brothers and sisters and I had to toe the line. We tried to avoid getting ourselves into a situation that would embarrass Dad, and if we did, we'd hear about it."
Born and raised in Duquesne, Mr. Weir was one of seven children of bricklayer Frank Weir and Antoinette Nuss Weir.
As a youth, Mr. Weir worked summers at Kennywood Park to help his family.
"Dad dropped out of school and held several jobs until he joined the city of Duquesne Police Department in 1937," his son said. "He received his high school diploma attending classes in the evening."
A year later, Mr. Weir married Anna Kenney, a resident of Homestead he had met when he was working at the Homestead Works of U.S. Steel and she was employed in the cafeteria.
"Dad was made chief in 1945 and held the position until 1962, when he retired and joined the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole," his son said. "He retired in 1980."
It was his exemplary record as a police officer that enabled Mr. Weir in 1950 to attend the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va., and to serve as an inauguration guard in 1953 and 1957 for President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
"Dad was proud to wear his 'I like Ike' buttons," his son said.
"Before Dad died, he was considered the oldest living graduate of the academy and was invited to attend the 200th graduation exercises in 2000."
Mr. Weir is survived by his wife, Anna R. Kenney Weir; five children, Walter Weir Jr., Thomas Weir and Rita Greer, all of West Mifflin, Lorraine Johnston, of Baldwin Township, and William Weir, of Kennedy; 16 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by two daughters, Virginia Sullivan and Alice J. Weir; and six siblings, Frank, Albert and Eugene Weir, and Edith Bieghley, Elizabeth Burke and Henrietta Long.
Visitation will be from 7 to 9 p.m. today and 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Friday in the Maloy-Schleifer Funeral Home, 915 Kennedy Ave., Duquesne, where FOP services will be held at 7 p.m. Friday.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday in Holy Name Church, Duquesne, with the Rev. Dennis Colamarino officiating.
Interment with military and police honors will follow in St. Joseph Cemetery, West Mifflin.