Donald Weir, former CEO of Wexco Inc. and a past chairman of the National Spa & Pool Institute , died Sept. 12. He was 79.
A true industry pioneer, Weir purchased Wexco in 1968 and grew the firm exponentially over the next four decades. Today, Wexco is a holding company for Fox Pool Corp. , Marquis Spas and Pen Fabricators .
“Don had a ton of energy and was very much a multitasker,” said Jeff Kurth, current CEO of Wexco. “He always had a lot of balls in the air and attacked every day with gusto.”
Born in Saginaw, Mich., in 1930, Weir graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in architecture and design. Later, he served in the Korean War as part of an antiaircraft crew. In the 1950s, he worked as sales and marketing director for American Machine and Foundry.
Then his entrepreneurial spirit took over.
After buying the then-small Wexco pool firm in York, Pa., Weir established the company as a leader in the vinyl-liner pool business, helping to popularize the X-brace wall support system. He was also part of the early, burgeoning market for portable spas, introducing the product to a wider customer base.
Always a team player, Weir created the Blue Sky Committee, a collection of executives across his firm who met regularly to brainstorm new ideas.
“You didn’t feel like you were working for him, but with him,” said Fox Pool Corp. President Bob Seitz. “He would never ask you to do anything he wouldn’t do himself.”
Weir also believed in giving back to the community, and served as a chairman for the American Red Cross and his local Chamber of Commerce. He held leadership positions in the school district and the town’s hospital, and served as president of the Manufacturers’ Association of South Central Pennsylvania, to name a few.
Those values led him to become president of the Northeast Pool Association in 1975 and chairman of NSPI in 1979. Weir also was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in the ’80s, in part for his early recognition of the need for water safety.
“I remember an article about him in the local paper,” Kurth said. “It was titled, ‘Don Weir: A Ton of Energy.’ And that was still true. He worked the last day of his life and that’s how he would have wanted it.”
Weir also is remembered as an enthusiastic golfer with memberships to four country clubs. He was extremely competitive, though always good-natured.
“Don was very gregarious, but he would do anything to psyche out his opponent,” Kurth said with a laugh. “And he was renowned for being frugal — he beat me in golf about 80 percent of the time, but was not happy when I won some of his money.”
Weir is survived by his wife, Barbara; four children; two stepchildren; and eight grandkids. The family requests that donations made in Weir’s memory be sent to the American Heart Association .