When I was just four or five years old, Sandy, as he was known by his school chums, and his family lived three houses down from us on Cumberland Avenue. When Sandy’s father, J.R. Weiler, walked to his job at the Harlan National Bank every morning, he would often see me playing on the sidewalk in front of my house. In the warm months, I was usually barefooted and he pretended to step on my toes. It was a game we played for many years.
As a young boy, Sandy was a talented musician and was in the high school band. He was an expert piccolo player and flutist. Actually as he progressed in his musical knowledge and skills, he considered becoming a band director. Somewhere along the line, although he loved music, he changed his mind and became a medical doctor.
Sandy was also something of an amateur actor, and a very good one at that. Miss Kate Allen directed a musical play at Harlan High School every year and Sandy and my brother, Edwin, were characters in her play during Edwin’s senior year. They were a hoot and a half in their roles as two businessmen: Edwin as a Jewish salesman and Sandy as a Chinaman. Their names were “Abie and Chin-Chin.” Years later Sandy was one of the organizers of Harlan’s Little Theatre and participated in its very first production, “Time Out For Ginger.” His character was an enthusiastic father who encouraged his tomboy daughter to go out for football and was ecstatic when she actually made the team. Sandy continued his interest in the fine arts throughout his lifetime, participating in and supporting hometown, as well as statewide productions.
He was a brilliant man and his interests were eclectic. For instance, he delighted in writing a weekly column for the local paper. He had a great deal on his mind and wanted to share his knowledge and opinions with his fellow citizens. He was a highly respected man of medicine. Sandy was also a snappy dresser, having his attire altered to best accentuate his slender physique. He loved driving fashionable automobiles, often exceeding speed limits to find himself collecting numerous tickets.
Dr.Weiler was one of a dying breed, a true gentleman who treated women and his friends with genuine respect. When a lady came into his presence, he immediately stood up, acknowledged her and offered her a place to sit. He never failed to open a door or doff his cap.
Sandy and I were lifelong friends. He teased me by calling me “Chorelie” and in turn, I called him “Sandyford.” My life is richer for having known him. His demise is a great loss to me and to our entire community. His family has every right to be proud of him, not only for his service to his country as a pilot in the Army Air Corps, but as a physician extraordinaire, a supporter of community art endeavors, a gifted writer and a participant in civil affairs. As Shakespeare said in Hamlet, “I shall not look upon his like again.”