Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Claude Leonard Weeks, Sr., R.I.P.

Former Mayor Len Weeks's father has died at age 97.  

My heart goes out to his family and friends.

Mr. Weeks was Flagler Hospital Executive Director for 25 years. 

From St. Augustine Record: 

Photo 1 - St. Augustine Record Obituaries in Saint Augustine, FL | St. Augustine RecordPhoto 2 - St. Augustine Record Obituaries in Saint Augustine, FL | St. Augustine Record

Claude Leonard Weeks, Sr., 96, passed away on June 16, 2023. Claude was born on October 8, 1926 in Charleston, South Carolina to parents Lawrence and Claudia Weeks. He graduated from Charleston High School, and one of his favorite memories was being the bat boy for the Charleston Rebels Baseball team. In 1944, following graduation, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps. After boot camp in Paris Island, S.C., and basic training in Camp Lejeune, N.C., he went to Sea School in San Diego, California. In June 1945, he was assigned to the Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. Bunker Hill, which was the largest aircraft carrier at that time. When the war ended, he was assigned to a troop transport bringing the Veterans home and taking replacements over. He made seven round trips across the Pacific to China, Philippines, Japan and Hawaii. He always said that he was one of the “lucky ones.”

Following his discharge in August 1946, he became a partner in Weeks Feed and Seed Store with his two brothers. In 1948 Claude entered Newberry College on an Athletic Scholarship and G.I. Bill. While at Newberry, he received varsity letters in football, basketball, and tennis. He also served as president of the student body, Blue Key, and Methodist Student Fellowship. His senior year, he was selected as the lone student from S.C. colleges and universities to attend the annual meeting of the National Association of Manufacturers in New York City. He served as state president of the South Carolina Methodist Youth Fellowship. At graduation, Claude was awarded the Cromer Citizenship award for Leadership and was named a member of Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.

In the summer of 1950, while serving as a counselor at the Methodist Youth Camp, Claude met JuAnne (Julia) Kennedy, also a camp counselor. They married in June, 1951, and enjoyed a long and happy marriage. Also in 1951, while still a senior at Newberry College, Claude became the administrator of Newberry County Memorial Hospital beginning a long career in hospital administration. After serving for six years in Newberry, he served as the administrator of Cherokee County Memorial Hospital in Gaffney, S.C. Claude served as president-elect of the S.C. Hospital Association, and was a member of the S.C. State Board of Health, before moving to the East Coast Hospital in St. Augustine. After eighteen months, Claude and the family moved to Illinois for Claude to attend graduate school at the University of Chicago, where he received his M.B.A. with a field of specialization in Hospital Administration. He then served as Assistant Administrator of the Dallas County Hospital District in Texas for two years, before returning to St. Augustine where he served as Executive Director of Flagler Hospital for twenty five years. During his tenure, the LPN program, Meals on Wheels, and Life Line were initiated; and the Anderson Gibbs building was erected. Also, during this time, he served as president of the Florida Hospital Association, and the Florida Health Care Foundation. He was a member of the House of Delegates of the American Hospital Association. He became a Life Fellow in the American College of Health Care Executives and he served as a member of the board of directors of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida for six years.

Upon his retirement from Flagler Hospital, Claude became a field representative for the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations. He traveled all over the U.S. surveying hospitals. Claude and family have lived in St. Augustine since 1962. Claude was a longtime member of First United Methodist Church. He served as the chairman of the Administrative Board, Board of Trustees, and he was a former Sunday school teacher and Lay Leader.

Claude was active in the community; having served as president of the Kiwanis Club of St. Augustine, president of Toastmasters, and Chairman of United Way. He was a longtime member of the Ponce De Leon Country Club, where he enjoyed golfing with “the Thieves.” Even though he claimed to have two left feet, he was among the first members of the St. Augustine Ballroom Dance Association; he so loved dancing. Claude delivered Meals on Wheels for many years, and also enjoyed his volunteer work as a Master Gardener. In 2019, Flagler Hospital honored Claude by creating “the Claude L. Weeks, Sr. Garden,” a beautiful area, which is enjoyed by patients and staff.

Claude is survived by JuAnne, his wife of 72 years, sons Len (Kristy), and Ken (Sharon), and daughter Susan (Harold) Sturm, grandchildren Austin (Trish), Claudia (Cory) Emerson, Schaffer (fiancé, Jacki Pearson), Shealy (fiancé, David Aghamalian) and Reid Weeks, Emily Sturm and Martha (Austin) Mogy, and great-grandchildren Walker and Lia Weeks.

A celebration of Claude’s life will be held this Sunday, June 25th at 2:00 pm at First United Methodist Church with Reverend Will Wold officiating. 

Flowers are gratefully declined. Those wishing may make a memorial donation in Claude’s name to the Flagler Hospital Health Care Foundation, 400 Health Park Blvd., St. Augustine, FL 32086, or to Community Hospice, 4266 Sunbeam Road, Jacksonville, FL 32257.

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