By Jon Baker
DOVER — Hospice patients Herman and Mary Weigand couldn’t think of anything they wanted more than to spend the day with their six children, including their son Johnathon, who they hadn’t seen in seven years.
So thanks to Crossroads Hospice of Green, the Weigands, both 83, will have a reunion today with their children and their spouses at School House Winery on Schneiders Crossing Road outside of Dover — a place filled with memories for the family.
The Weigands, residents of Schoenbrunn Healthcare in New Philadelphia, are receiving their reunion through Crossroads’ Gift of a Day program. They are Crossroads patients.
“We want as perfect of a day as we can give them,” said Dean Leupold, executive director of the organization.
Asked what kind of a special day Crossroads could put together for them, the Weigands responded that they would like to have Johnathon come for a visit, Leupold said.
A social worker and volunteer coordinator then did research on flights and paid for Johnathon to fly to Ohio from his home in Houston.
Johnathon Weigand has cancer and hadn’t been able to travel for the past seven years to visit with his parents.
“It was tough,” he said. “I wanted to see my family, but I couldn’t go.”
Leupold said Crossroads has been doing the program for 14 years.
In that time, it has put together family reunions, limousine rides, Cleveland Browns tailgate parties and arranged for a younger patient to sit on the sidelines at an Ohio State football game with his family.
School House Winery — housed in the former Oak Grove School, built in 1886 — was the perfect spot for the Weigand reunion. Herman Weigand attended school there for six years and grew up in the area.
In fact, the school sat on his family’s farm.
In 1940, he met Mary Wiegand (their last names are the same except the “i” and the “e” are reversed) at St. Joseph Elementary in Dover.
Mary’s father, Paul, was born in the house where Herman grew up.
The couple was married Aug. 30, 1947, and their reception was held at Oak Grove School. They often attended square dances at the school.
“It has lots of memories for both families,” Mary said.
Altogether, about 20 people are expected to attend the reunion today, including someone from Crossroads Hospice.
“They’ve been real helpful in putting it together,” Herman Weigand said of Crossroads.
Asked about his feelings on the reunion with his parents, Johnathon Weigand said, “It’s different this time. Life has changed for them and life has changed for me. But it’s a good thing.”