Honda pioneer ‘Puff’ Weaver leaves memories of his kindness

PAT FRIDGEN
WARREN E. "PUFF" WEAVER

The family of Warren E. "Puff" Weaver is remembering him fondly. Weaver, a longtime Greencastle businessman, died May 8 at the age of 87.

The small and close-knit family is grieving the loss of their patriarch, but comforted by his legacy.

Weaver started Antrim Way Motors in 1955, selling used cars. When a Japanese company began offering cars in the United States, he found them for customers through other dealers, and in 1974 opened his own franchise. Antrim Way Honda was the first exclusive Honda franchise in the country. It grew over the years, with a major expansion spearheaded by his grandson Greg in 2008.

Weaver remained a regular visitor, chatting with customers and employees, and eating breakfast at The Cafe at Antrim Way. He had a knack for remembering people's names, even after one introduction. Though retired, he could still refer to his earliest customers.

"He was one hell of a guy," said son Steven, president of Antrim Way Honda. When Steve joined the business the two used to spend every Wednesday shopping for used cars. He and his wife Linda enjoyed taking his parents to Rehoboth Beach for blues festivals.

Greg, the third generation in the family business, vice president and dealer principal, was close to his grandfather. "He was a great mentor to me and my best friend. He was always kind to people and taught me how to treat customers."

Weaver's daughter Pamela Knepper admitted she was "daddy's daughter, in every sense of the word." They spent many hours together.

The family treasured his sense of humor and plan to keep sharing the stories that make them laugh, like the time Weaver tried to put Cinderella slippers on Pam on Prom night, but she was wearing bobby socks. They recalled his never-ending smile, even when he didn't feel well. He always answered to his nickname, which he received in high school. The wind was knocked out of him in a game of football. He came up puffing for air and the moniker stuck.

The family also remembered his kindness. He was known to pay for groceries for someone in front of him in line, and to send appliances to people in need, all done anonymously.

"I've learned from him you help people because you can, not because you'll be recognized," said Greg's wife Cherie.

He loved his great-grandchildren Isabella, 6, Christiana, 4, and Andrew, 18 months. He invited the girls for sleepovers. "He was wonderful with them," continued Cherie. "There was nothing like a snuggle on Pappy's lap."

Weaver also adored Jane, his wife of 68 years. They loved to take cross-country trips, as late as 2004, to attend Honda new car showings. When their two children were young, the family took Sunday drives and frequented Cowan's Gap and Skyline Drive for some of the outings. He had to move Jane, whom he still called "his sweetheart", to Quincy Home in September.

Cherie summed up the next generations' thoughts on Weaver. "He really lived a wonderful life. We'll carry on his legacy if we live our lives like he did, and embrace family like he did."

Weaver's funeral service is at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 13 at Harold M. Zimmerman and Son Funeral Home. Burial will be in the Cedar Hill Cemetery.

The family will receive visitors at the funeral home on Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m.