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Jack Weinberger, 94, Restaurant Owner and Veteran

October 29, 2009
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Jack Weinberger

Jack Weinberger, 94, a retired restaurateur and volunteer, died Oct. 11, in Reston, Va. Formerly a resident of Center City, he had moved to an assisted-living facility in Virginia last year.

Weinberger graduated from South Philadelphia High School in 1933. Unable to afford college, he became a dishwasher, then moved up to busboy, then waiter.

He served in the U.S. Army during World War II. Although he was awarded the Sharp Shooter's medal, he ultimately lost much of his hearing in the line of duty, and was honorably discharged.

In 1962, he opened Gino's Restaurant and Gallery on 1613 Walnut St., with partner Gene Beechman. It became a prominent restaurant/nightclub, attracting lovers of opera, show tunes and Italian food.

Located several doors down from "The Mike Douglas Show," Gino's was frequented by celebrities, athletes and other famous figures of the day. Weinberger managed the restaurant himself, becoming a well-known face in the dining room. He closed the restaurant in 1974.

After retiring as a restaurateur, Weinberger volunteered at the Stiffel Center in South Philadelphia, delivering meals to shut-ins. He became an employee, working as a senior advocate for 20 years.

Weinberger's community involvements included the Philadelphia Restaurant Association, where he was president for several years, and membership at the Oxford Circle Jewish Community Center. In the 1970s, he became a member of the Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania, ultimately rising to 32nd degree.

Weinberger is survived by daughters Elyce Ellis, Melanie Blatt and Penny Gilchrist; seven grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death 13 years ago by his wife of 56 years, Rose (Sherry) Ginsberg Weinberger.

Memorial donations can be made to: Capital Hospice, Attn: Philanthropy Office, 2900 Telestar Court, Falls Church, VA 22042.

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