June H. Weiss, a longtime member of the Eastern Pennsylvania chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, died May 3 of cancer. She was 83.
Weiss was born July 17, 1929 in Fleetwood and resided in the Reading area for most of her life. She graduated from Reading High School in 1947 and continued her education in Chicago at Zenker School of Cake Decorating. Weiss worked as a cake decorator for her family’s business, Heck’s Bakery, until 1972, when she bought the company. She retired in 1992. Weiss became a member of PFLAG in the late 1990s, shortly after her daughter, Nadine Smet-Weiss, came out. “When I first came out, my mom didn’t bat an eye and didn’t miss a beat,” Smet-Wiess said. “She didn’t seem the least bit surprised. My mom was opening and welcoming and included my partner as if she was a part of the family. There was never any kind of differentiation between my partner and I and my brother and his wife.” Smet-Weiss said she admired her mother’s decision to join PFLAG. “I was pleased that she joined. I was a little surprised,” she said. “She accepted me but she made a public statement that she accepted me. She was saying to people that this is OK, this is acceptable and there is no reason to discriminate.” Weiss won the chapter’s first-ever Best PFLAG Mom of the Year award in 2006. “They valued her presence there,” Smet-Weiss said. “She was very faithful. When my mom committed to something, she was always there.” Weiss also volunteered for the American Red Cross, Meals on Wheels and other charities. Smet-Weiss said her mother found strength in her faith. “No matter what kinds of challenges life brought her, her faith was always important and helped her to keep going. She never really complained about anything that she was dealt in life, she just accepted and made the best of it.” Weiss was predeceased by her husband, Lester, and is survived by Smet-Weiss and partner, Judith; son Brian and wife Denise; grandchildren Joshua and Ashley; and great-grandson Brayden. Memorial donations can be made to Reading Pride, P.O. Box 15242, Reading, PA 19612 and the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 10, P.O. Box 14625, Reading, PA 19612.