By Gall Sigler
Arleen Roberta Weitz, a prominent figure in the local catering industry and a Philadelphia proponent, died on May 27. She was 73.
Born and raised in the Philadelphia area, Weitz attended Cheltenham High School. After graduating, she remained in the area and matriculated at Temple University. She was a member of Temple Sinai in Dresher and a former member of Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel in Center City, brother Stu Weitz said in an email.
Weitz graduated with a degree in English and began working as a teacher. But her calling lay elsewhere — during a brief stint working at a riverfront restaurant, Weitz fell in love with the hospitality industry, Assistant Rabbi Sam Hollander said in his eulogy.
She took her first steps in the business at the Barclay Hotel. Always excited by new challenges, when asked by a friend if she was interested in working at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel, Weitz readily agreed.
Her knack for the business did not go unnoticed at the Bellevue, where she was appointed director of catering for the Hotel Atop the Bellevue.
After years there, Weitz took the position of senior catering sales manager in the new Philadelphia Marriot Downtown.
And despite a brief spell as the director of member services at the Philadelphia Bar Association, Weitz’s passion remained in the hospitality industry. She returned to the Bellevue, this time as the sales manager for The Palm.
Undeterred by the hardships and demands of the profession, Weitz spent long hours at the hotel, often brandishing a “Survived the blizzard of ‘96” T-shirt.
Weitz breathed Philadelphia. Whether it was the 76ers, Eagles or Phillies, she was a devout fan, both Hollander and Stu Weitz said. Weitz lived in the 1500 Locust Street block in the heart of Center City for more than 40 years.
In 2001, armed with the knowledge gained during years of working in the hospitality industry, Weitz established her company, ARW Events, which specialized in event planning.
Her last job was working for Philadelphia Sightseeing Tours, Stu Weitz said.
Weitz was eager to give to the community and volunteered as a poll worker, served on the Delaware Valley Stroke Council and expressed her gratitude to veterans at any chance she got.
A decade ago, Weitz beat colon cancer but continued to battle for others. She joined the Patient Advisory Council at Jefferson University Hospitals and participated in the annual “Get Your Rear in Gear” 5K to raise awareness and money for colon cancer research.
For her last birthday in March, Weitz organized a fundraiser through the Colon Cancer Coalition. On her Facebook page, she posted “I hope you’ll consider contributing as a way to celebrate with me … Every little bit will help me reach my goal.”
Hollander said that “she lived her life, elevating others … making them feel special.”
Arleen Weitz is survived by her brother, Stu Weitz.
Gall Sigler is an intern for the Jewish Exponent.