Eugene Alvin Weisberger, a former Long Island electronics executive who became a prolific author after receiving a cancer diagnosis, has died at a Hollywood, Florida, hospice after contracting pneumonia. He was 89.
Weisberger was a vice president and general manager of General Instrument’s government systems division, which employed hundreds of Long Islanders at its plants in Hicksville and elsewhere.
In the mid-1990s the same year he retired he was diagnosed with salivary gland cancer that spread to his lymph nodes.
“His prognosis was two years, and he lived 18 or 19 more,” said his wife, Lila Weisberger. They were married 46 years.
Weisberger’s stepson, Marc Stein of Forest Hills, Queens, said that he used the cancer diagnosis as a springboard for his writing.
“He was all business until he retired,” Stein said. “Then, after he retired and he got cancer the same year, he switched over and got in touch with his creative side and threw himself into writing. It was a form of cancer therapy. After retiring he began the hardest phase of his life.”
In all, Weisberger self-published about a dozen booksand was working on another at the time of his death.
Weisberger, who lived for years in Hauppauge, had an apartment in Manhattan and a home in Hallandale, Florida, at the time of his death, on June 18.
His wife said the staff at the Florida hospice said they had never seen a patient who had so many visitors.
Weisberger led the expansion of General Instrument’s defense business into foreign markets. On a trip to Greece in the early 1970s to pursue a contract with the country’s air force, Weisberger visited the Parthenon in Athens. That visit whet his appetite for travel.
“He did world travel to the extreme,” Marc Stein said. “I’ve never seen anyone so obsessed with going to every country in the world.”
In all, he visited more than 60 countries and while in the hospice was planning a cruise with his wife.
Weisberger was born on Dec. 9, 1926, to Jack and Sabina Weisberger in Belle Harbor, Queens. A graduate of Brooklyn Technical High School, he served in the U.S. Navy in World War II and earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute and a master’s of business administration from Hofstra University.
Besides his wife Lila and stepson Marc, Weisberger is survived by two children from his first marriage, to Joyce Weisberger of Manhattan: Jack Weisberger of Cherryville, North Carolina, and Sabina Hamilton of Huntersville, North Carolina.
He also is survived by stepchildren Sharon Groth of Hauppauge, Gary Stein of Holbrook and Lori Stein of Birmingham, Alabama; 14 grandchildren and one great-grandson.