Christopher Ingham Weiss died on Sunday, December 19, 2021. He was struck by a car in Forest Hills, PA. He was 62 years old.
Chris, or “Toh,” was a master carpenter, whose work lives on in homes all over Pittsburgh. He loved woodworking and paid attention to the finest details in his craftmanship. Toh was an inventive and prolific artist; he worked in a wide range of media, from ink drawing and painting, to wood carving and found object assemblage sculpture.
As a young boy, he spent part of each summer at the family farm in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, where he learned to split wood. He developed a love of ceramic pottery from his time with the Michigan potters, John Foster and Robert Diebboll, whose pottery he collected. Toh acquired art of all kinds and had an eye for beauty in ordinary objects. He developed a deep love of Asian art and culture, which he got from his maternal grandfather, James Marshall Plumer. Chris spent the second half of his life studying the art of Chinese ink brush drawing.
Toh was an accomplished raconteur; he enjoyed a beautiful turn of phrase. He loved words. Chris was a prolific letter-writer, producing hundreds of poetic and artistically crafted missives. He was a voracious reader, ready to talk with you about the latest book he was reading-- Samuel Beckett, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Cormac McCarthy. He loved going to museums, galleries, and the theater. He attended Westminster College, leaving after one year to train to become a carpenter. A self-taught pianist, he could play the boogie-woogie.
He was a spiritual man, a life-long Episcopalian, who also participated in Buddhist services. He loved the outdoors and enjoyed camping, hiking, and kayaking as much as playing cards, backgammon, and doing the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle.
Chris had a generous heart for the downtrodden and would often give away money and food to strangers. He knew many homeless people by name, and spent time engaging them in conversation. Sadly, he could not shake his addiction to drugs. This struggle surely kept him from maintaining some relationships and producing more of the great artwork he had within him.
He is survived by his loving wife of 21 years, Roberta J. "Bonnie" Weiss, and their two children, Emily Abbygale Weiss, and Augusta Smythe Weiss. Chris also has four children from a previous marriage: Jesse Connor Izzo, Zachary Ingham Weiss, Joshua August Weiss, and Chloe Elizabeth Weiss. He has four grandsons. He is survived by his siblings: James Langdon Weiss, Rev. Charles Sumner Weiss, Craig Curtis Scott, Mary Weiss Aiken, Heather Sharon Scott, Douglas McKinney Scott, Robert Wallace Weiss, and Jeffrey Michael Weiss. Chris is also survived by his stepmother, Roberta “Robin” McKinney Weiss. Chris’s parents are Charles Weiss (1930-2013) and Mary Augusta Plumer Weiss (1933-1971).
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Menri Monastary Public Restroom Fundraiser/ Olmo Ling Bon Center & Institute (olmoling.org)
A Celebration of Life will be planned for Christopher Ingham Weiss in Pittsburgh in the summer of 2022.
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