United in Giving

The bond that sealed Mary and Stuart (Stu) Weitzman’s 46-year marriage was to give back whenever possible. Throughout the years they both inspired and encouraged each other to be their best selves and to do what they could to help others.

With giving back and their love in mind, after Stu’s passing in March 2019, Mary and their children created the Stuart Weitzman Family Endowment Fund for YMCA Camp St. Croix to benefit camperships and provide financial assistance for those in need.

Born in Philadelphia in 1947 just after World War II, Stu’s upbringing was very much influenced by the war experience. His parents wanted him to appreciate and feel at home with people of differing religions, cultures, and ethnicities. Stu’s family moved to Minnesota during his childhood and soon became acquainted with Camp St. Croix—then a Christian camp for boys only. Camp Director Jack Murdock welcomed Stu as one of the first people of the Jewish faith to work on the camp staff, and the experience changed Stu’s life. He quickly learned skills of leadership, communication, problem solving, managing diverse groups, and navigating the wilderness.

Stu was inspired by Jack Murdock and remained so his entire life. Stu knew Jack to be fair and he appreciated the positive, wonderful outlook that Jack had on life. Through Y camp and camping, the relationships Stu made, and an appreciation for the simplicity of the natural world, Stu was inspired to live life the way he wanted to: by being generous, giving, and sharing.

“I’m inspired by the loyalty I see of the people who are committed to the Y work,” Mary said. “So many of my husband’s lifelong friends had been camp counselors together. It’s amazing to see the connection and continued friendship as they went through life.”

Throughout their lives, Mary and Stu saw how the world changed in significant ways, through personal connections. Raising their mixed Jewish-Catholic adopted and biological children, they always welcomed exchange students into their homes, volunteered at church and school, and provided a helping hand whenever they could.

“We had a desire to make the world a better place. We encouraged our children to give back and now our grandchildren. We see it as the right way to live.” Mary said.

Continuing Stu’s legacy, Mary has helped create a heritage patio and fire pit at Camp St. Croix for families to gather.

“By creating this fund and gathering space, we are carrying on Stu’s legacy to make the world a better place,” Mary said. “This feels good and right.”