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DEATH FINALLY PARTS A LOVING COUPLE.

Byline: DENNIS McCARTHY

RESEDA - One of the Valley's longest-running, great love affairs ended last Thursday - at least down here on Earth.

Jack Weiner - who always gave his wife, Rose, the only thing she ever wanted on Valentine's Day to prove his love, a special kiss - has died. He was 97 going on 18.

When they woke up Rose to tell her Jack had gone on ahead to get things ready, she didn't cry, her family said.

She just nodded, got out of bed, and said she wanted to be alone with the man she had been married to for 71 years.

So, at 1:10 a.m. last Thursday, 97-year-old Rose from Brooklyn walked down the hallway from her new room at A station in the Jewish Home for the Aging in Reseda to B North, where she and Jack had lived together until he got so sick he needed constant skilled nursing care.

Rose sat by his bedside and held her husband's hand, saying over and over again, ``He did his job, and he did it well,'' said the couple's daughters, Carol Block and Myrna Wachs.

``Mom would walk over to be with Dad before and after every meal, and make sure he was OK,'' Carol said.

``The doctors and rabbi told us that it's not unusual for a person's failing memory at the end to go back to their youth, so it explains what Dad kept mumbling over and over again the last few days,'' she said.

``I like Rose,'' Jack Weiner would say, again and again. ``Rose is nice.''

He was going home to Brooklyn.

< There wasn't a guy in the Brooklyn dance hall who didn't take a second look when Rose walked into the place, wearing her new lavender dress she bought at Oppenheim's on 34th for $25 - big money in 1927.

Jack took a third look, then a fourth at Rose, standing there with her girlfriend. Finally, Jack nudged his buddy, Charley Ackerman, and gave him the bad news.

``You got the fat one,'' he said.

``I don't want the fat one,'' Charley said.

Didn't matter. Jack walked Rose home that night. Three years later, as the Great Depression began to grip the country, they were married.

They were luckier than most, though. Jack owned a kosher butcher shop in Brooklyn, so at least they ate well.

``You know the old saying, 'Marry a butcher, you'll never go hungry?' Well, it's true.''

Rose threw me that line the day before Valentine's Day last year, trying to explain what real love and commitment was all about. With 70 years under their belts, the Weiners were pros.

They had the perfect relationship. Jack started the sentences, and Rose finished them.

``Love...'' Jack began.

``...and understanding are the secrets of a long marriage,'' Rose finished.

Jack smiled and nodded. Wise man.

Love wasn't about cards, and it wasn't about gifts, Rose said. It was about kisses.

She told me about these neighbors she and Jack had in the Valley who were real lovey-dovey. The guy never missed bringing his young wife flowers, candy and gifts for Valentine's Day, anniversaries and other special days.

``Now, my Jack here, he never brought me home anything, not even a card,'' Rose said. ``But I didn't mind because he didn't have to prove his love to me with flowers and cards.

``I just took a kiss,'' she said.

By the way, Rose added, the lovey-dovey couple? The last she heard, they got divorced.

This past Valentine's, her dad gave her mom another special kiss, Carol said. And when her mom's 97th birthday rolled around in June, he gave her the same birthday present he had given her for 71 straight years of marriage.

He sat his bride down and sang her their special song - ``Everything is Hotsy Totsy Now'' by Ukulele Ike.

``After your Valentine's column on Mom and Dad, CNN came out to interview them, and their long love affair became an inspiration for the entire country,'' Carol said.

``They were so proud and happy.''

< Jack was sitting on the edge of the bed looking at some old wedding pictures as I was getting ready to leave after visiting them at the Jewish home last year.

``We're still in love with each other...'' he started to say.

``...and we always ate the best meat, which is probably why we're still alive,'' Rose finished the sentence for him.

He looked over at his wife and his smile lit up the room.

Rose is right. Her husband did his job, and he did it well.

CAPTION(S):

photo

Photo:

Jack and Rose Weiner had been married 71 years before Jack's death last week. A portrait of the pair on their wedding day hung on a door of their room at the Jewish Home for the Aging in Reseda.

John McCoy/Staff Photographer
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Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 23, 2001
Words:809
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