Remembering the founder of local CF foundation

Posted at 11:16 PM, Apr 18, 2016

Say the name Mary Weiss and many things come to mind: devoted Mom, unstoppable advocate and "65 Roses" are among many ways she will be remembered.

Mary passed away Saturday just shy of her 78th birthday.

In the mid 1960's, Mary founded the Palm Beach County chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. It literally started out of her Palm Beach County home and remained there for 11 years.

Mary and her husband Harry had three boys who were born with the genetic disease that severely damages the lungs and digestive system.

There was very little known about CF at that time, so Mary made it her mission to find a cure.

Her grassroots foundation meant she spent many hours on the phone.

It was 4-year-old Richard Weiss, who unknowingly coined the phrase that would become the slogan for the national Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Mary Weiss said, " He heard me on the phone for all those years and one day said, 'I know what you're working for Mommy. You're working for 65 roses.'  To his young ears Cystic Fibrosis sounded like 65 roses."

Mary worked on the CF national level in addition to the local level raising awareness and money for cystic fibrosis, which affects 30,000 young adults and children.

She, along with her husband, was awarded the Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013.

During her lifetime she was recognized by organizations such as Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce, Palm Beach County Medical Society Services, Bethesda Hospital Foundation Women of Grace, Jewish Women of Leadership and Honorary Trustee at WXEL of Palm Beach.

Mary is preceded in death by her sons Arthur and Richard. And is survived by her youngest son Anthony and her husband of 59 years Harry Weiss.

Funeral services followed by interment will be held Tuesday, April 19 at 11:00 AM at Star of David of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach.  In lieu of flowers please make contributions Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in her honor:
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 700 S Dixie Hwy #100, West Palm Beach, FL 33401.  Please visit to offer condolences and sign the online guestbook.