Dozens pack memorial service for Weiss family, killed in plane crash on New Year’s Eve

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Dozens gathered at Congregation B’nai Israel in St. Petersburg to remember the Weiss family Wednesday.

Drs. Mitchell and Leslie Weiss and their children, Hannah and Ari Weiss, died in a plane crash in Costa Rica on New Year’s Eve.

“We gather today with bowed heads,” said Rabbi Jacob Luski.

Mitchell’s sister, Debbie Picker, cried as she spoke to other mourners.

“Although it does not feel like it, we will smile and laugh again. But a piece of us will always be missing,” she said.

Yonatan Golden came to pay his respects.

He went to school with Hannah.

“It’s a tragedy. It’s something that’s not supposed to happen,” he said. “Especially for the Weiss family. One of the most nicest families I’d ever met in my life.”

Both doctors worked at Morton Plant Mease Hospital in Clearwater, saving lives.

Mitchell Weiss, 52, was a radiologist.

Leslie Weiss, who just celebrated her 50th birthday, was the head pediatrician.

Hannah, 19, was attending Columbia University in New York and Ari, 16, was in high school.

The Weiss’s were traveling with their friends, the Steinberg’s, from New York, when the plane went down.

Twelve people on board died.

Family said Dec. 31 will never be the same. They encouraged all to celebrate each new year, cherishing the love and memory of the Weiss’s.

“When you hear the word ‘nice,’ remember that it rhymes with Weiss and nice is just as a very small part of what this wonderful, loving family was really all about,” said Leslie’s sister, Marci Hackel.

A memorial fund has been created in honor of the family. To donate, please visit www.cbistpete.org.

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