Gazette Article by: Nan Greenough
Appeared in the Gazette: Spring 2010
The Weaver family has lived at 660 Pine Street for over 50 years. Everett P. “Tuck” Weaver remembers being attracted to the house as a perfect size for raising seven children. The family moved to Winnetka from Northbrook in 1960.
One of the striking features of the house is the large Abbott Pattison ceramic plaque of a human figure on the front façade. The acquisition of the ceramic was due to a mistake. Each day as he drove to work, Weaver would pass a shop sign that displayed proverbs. One in particular came to haunt him: The best way to remember your wife’s birthday is to forget it once. Indeed, he did forget Rita’s birthday. What to do? At the time, Rita Weaver was studying with Abbott Pattison, a Winnetka sculptor with a national reputation. The solution? To purchase an enormous Abbott Pattison ceramic, to be located on the front façade of the house. Miraculously, Pattison managed to install it by himself. Any number of times thereafter, Rita would ask Tuck to please forget her birthday again, but he says he’d learned his lesson.
The Weaver-Pattison collaboration continued with the Weavers’ purchase of Pattison’s 7-foot bronze sculpture, “The Ascent of Mt. Katahdin” that stands on the northwest corner of Oak Street and Green Bay Road. Weaver says that when Pattison learned that the sculpture was to be a gift to the Village, he sold a larger sculpture to the Weavers, but for less money, making Pattison a co-benefactor in this gift. The piece symbolizes “continuous movement,” according to an interview of Pattison.
Some of Rita’s ceramic pieces and a metal plaque are displayed at 660 Pine Street. Her style is fluid, expressionistic and distinctive. Abbot Pattison probably loved having her as a student.
Many people have an image of Weaver as a tireless and effective community leader. While reluctant to talk about his own achievements, he lights up when discussing his World War II experience. He grew up in Ottawa, Illinois and, having finished at the University of Illinois, volunteered for Naval OCS at the beginning of the war. He first encountered the East Coast while training on an 1890 Navy battleship in New York. After 140 days of training, he was commissioned as an ensign. He loved New York City and, in an effort to stay nearby, applied to submarine school in New London, Connecticut.
In a twist understood only by the military, this got him shipped off to Seattle onto a freighter, where he got his first view of the ocean, and was delivered to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, where he saw his first submarine. His first orders? “Don’t touch anything!” The submarine, the USS S-30, had been first launched in 1918 and was the oldest American sub to see combat in World War II. Weaver served on it and two other ships for ten war patrols. The phrase “close calls” does not begin to describe hair-raising engagements with Chidori patrol boats, depth charges and the sinking of Jinbu Maru, a 5228-ton cargo ship. Reflective of his work ethic, he volunteered to stay up at night to decode messages so as to identify which messages were relevant to his vessel.
Weaver was the CEO of a successful company, yet found time for community service. His first such experience unfolded when New Trier West was closed and all students were sent back to the east campus. A bank loan remained outstanding on privately purchased field lights at the west campus. Board President Joan Levy did not want public funds paying for a private expense. She recruited Weaver to raise money to pay off the loan. His committee raised some money but needed more. Committee member Abe Fell proposed a plan: the committee could buy a car. Fell wrote to his friends to sell raffle tickets to win the car. Ticket sales skyrocketed and paid off the debt. Better yet, the New Trier football coach won the car.
During this time Joan Levy’s husband Arnold recruited Weaver onto the Winnetka Community House board and into Community House history. Among their many contributions, Tuck and Rita donated the seed money to start the Fitness Center in 1978 and, through raising and giving additional funds over time, grew it into one of the most successful Community House ventures ever.
By the mid-1980s Weaver was Chairman of the Community House Board during its 75th Anniversary, giving a speech that riffed on the Gettysburg Address: “Three-score and 15 years ago, our fathers brought forth to this Village….” At the time, Weaver also served on the Winnetka Village Council and, in recognition of his community service, was selected as Winnetka Man of the Year, an honor he shared that year with Tom Fritts.
While Weaver does not take credit for anything he’s done, those who worked with him point to his deep talent, inquisitive mind, creativity and generosity. Clarine Hall, who was Village President when Weaver served on the Village Board, calls him a “Renaissance Man.” Each day, she cherishes his retirement gift to her at the end of her term as Village President: he crafted an oversized wooden step stool, with the inscription: “…to Clarine Hall…keeping the Village one step ahead.” The inscription was followed by a symbol of an Indian Trail Tree.
Although Tuck and Rita moved to a smaller home in Winnetka several years ago, son Paul and daughter-in-law Helen now live in the house, raising a third generation of Weavers at 660 Pine. While necessary rehabilitation work has been done, much in the house remains the same, providing a respectful continuity that reflects the three families that have lived here over 95 years: the Nicholls, the Blesius family and the Weavers. And they have all made their mark.