Pages Menu
TwitterRssFacebookYouTube

Image Map
Categories Menu

Posted on Oct 20, 2008 in War College

In Memory of Ben Weider, 1923-2008

By Jerry D. Morelock

Patron of the Arts. Ben Weider is pictured surrounded by part of his superb collection of Napoleon items and artifacts, which he amassed over 50 years. The priceless collection includes the hat Napoleon wore during the 1812 campaign in Russia and locks of the Emperor's hair. Weider has generously donated his world class Napoleon collection to Canada's Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to form the heart of the museum's new Napoleon galleries.It is with a profound sense of sadness and a great feeling of personal loss that we announce the passing on Friday, October 17, of Dr. Ben Weider, CM, CQ, SBStJ of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Dr. Weider was the father of Eric Weider, who is the publisher of Armchair General magazine and president and CEO of the Weider History Group. Dr Weider was a much-honored international entrepreneur whose many achievements included being the president and founder of the International Napoleonic Society and the founder of the International Federation of Body Builders. A World War II veteran, Dr. Weider was the Honorary Colonel of the Canadian 62d Field Artillery Regiment. Other notable honors among the many he received include the Order of Canada, the National Order of Quebec, Commander of the Order of St. John, and the Cross of Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. Dr. Weider is a member of the Quebec Sports Hall of Fame and was nominated in 1984 for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Dr. Weider was a true “renaissance man,” whose achievements as a Soldier, author, historian, fitness proponent, benefactor of the arts, and entrepreneur reflect his many and varied interests. His enthusiastic promotion of sport and fitness, shared by his brother, Joe Weider, led to the founding of the International Federation of Body Builders (IFBB) in 1946. The IFBB has over 130 country members and was granted official recognition by the International Olympic Committee in 1998. The Weider brothers justifiably receive credit for initiating the fitness revolution that has profoundly influenced health and fitness worldwide. The book Brothers of Iron, co-authored by Ben and Joe Weider, is the fascinating story of how the Weider brothers effected this global transformation. The Weider brothers’ many outstanding achievements in the area of sport and fitness include their phenomenally successful sport- and fitness-related corporations featuring magazine publishing, sports and bodybuilding equipment and nutritional products.

Subscribe Today

Dieppe, France. Eric and Ben Weider stand on the beach at Dieppe, France, the site of the famous 1942 commando raid that featured bravery of Canadian troops above and beyond the call of duty.Dr. Weider, who was the world’s foremost expert on Napoleon, was the founder and president of the International Napoleonic Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to the serious academic study of the Napoleonic era. Headquartered in Montreal, the Society is established in 43 countries worldwide, and through its popular website (napoleonicsociety.com) gathers the leading minds on the Napoleonic era for the purpose of studying, reviewing and financially supporting the works of scholarship pertaining to this field, as well as presenting awards for such works. As a historian who studied Napoleon and his era for over 50 years, Dr. Weider was best known for his groundbreaking investigations that proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Napoleon was murdered by arsenic poisoning on St. Helena in 1821.  His many published works on this subject include Assassination at St. Helena, a book that has been translated into over 40 languages and which has sold over 1 million copies worldwide. Dr. Weider’s most recent book on Napoleon is The Wars Against Napoleon: Debunking the Myth of the Napoleonic Wars written with co-author Gen. Michel Franceschi. This outstanding book is a lasting tribute to Dr. Weider’s lifetime dedication to seeking and revealing the truth about Napoleon and the era that bears his name. Dr. Weider’s commitment to promoting Napoleonic studies also lives on in the Institute on Napoleon and the French Revolution at Florida State University through its Ben Weider Chair in Revolutionary Studies.

Honors. In 2007 Ben Weider was awarded Canada's highest civilian award, The Order of Canada, by Governor General, Michaelle Jean. Among Weider's many other honors are the National Order of Quebec, Commander of the Order of St. John, and the Cross of Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.Dr. Weider was well known as a collector and a generous patron of the arts. In over a half-century of collecting Napoleon items and artifacts, he amassed an incomparable collection of such items, including the cap Napoleon wore during the historic 1812 campaign in Russia and locks of the emperor’s hair. With foresight and incredible generosity, Dr. Weider arranged for his priceless Napoleon collection to be donated to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to serve as the heart of the museum’s new Napoleon galleries, a rich cultural heritage for the people of Canada and, indeed, of the entire world. The official dedication ceremony is due to take place on October 23 – sadly, less than one week after Dr. Weider’s death. However, as one indication of the great respect and international renown in which Dr. Weider was held, distinguished guests invited to the ceremony include Nicolas Sarkozy, president of France, and Prince Charles Napoleon, a direct descendant of Napoleon’s brother, Jerome. Yet, through this generous donation of his incomparable collection of Napoleon treasures, the museum’s new Napoleon galleries will stand as a permanent and highly fitting monument to Dr. Weider’s commitment to and patronage of the arts.

This short summary of an entire lifetime of notable achievements can hardly do justice to the profound impact Dr. Ben Weider has had on the many different areas and countless activities in which he was involved. His life and legacy have enriched everyone he knew as well as countless hundreds of thousands around the world who never had the privilege of knowing him personally. And although his sudden passing leaves a void in the lives of those of us who did have the honor of knowing him personally, we can take some comfort in knowing that Ben Weider leaves behind great and lasting legacies in many, many areas that touch us and will continue profoundly to influence us in years to come.

Please join us in extending our deepest, heartfelt sympathy to Eric Weider and the entire Weider family on the passing of one of the world’s truly unique individuals. I was honored to know him personally as a friend and mentor, and I will miss him terribly.

Jerry D. Morelock, FINS (Fellow of the International Napoleonic Society) is Armchair General magazine Editor in Chief.

Colonel of the Regiment. In 2006 Ben Weider was appointed Honorary Colonel of Canada's 62nd Field Artillery Regiment. As Honorary Colonel of the Regiment, Ben Weider played a vital role in ensuring the continuation of military traditions, promoting the unit's distinctive identity, mentoring unit leaders, and advising the Commanding Officer on many issues.

Soldier. Ben Weider was a World War II veteran who served in Canada's armed forces. This photograph was taken in 1942.

26 Comments

  1. Thank you to all for stopping by to read. Please feel free to leave a comment if you’d like to show
    your support for the Weider family at this difficult time.

    Brian King
    Armchair General

    • It is rather late in the day to add to this tribute but I just came upon this tonight.

      Mr. Ben Weider was a truly phenomenal and unique man.

      There are 6 billion people on this planet…….

      Only a small handful have equalled the magnitude of his existence and have left so great a mark on so many; driven solely by the strength of his spirit.

      The world has been left a much better place because of the efforts of Ben and his brother Joe…..

      A truly amazing legacy of generosity in kind spirit.

      I wish I had been only 1/1000 th. the man that Ben Weider was.

  2. Like everyone, I was shocked to hear this news. Dr Weider seemed a man who simply would live forever. I never had the honor of meeting him in person, but was blessed with working for him or
    his family in a number of different capacities.

    The world has lost a unique and wonderful person. I’ll treasure the signed copy of his last book that he so generously sent me and wish he were still with us to continue his great works.

  3. The world has lost a great man and I am deeply saddened by the
    sudden and unexpected loss. Ben has been a powerful force – he
    leaves this world having made it better, stronger and healthier
    for generations past, living and those to follow. His legacy and
    spirit will live on in the hearts and memories of everyone who
    loved, respected and was influenced by him. I’m am blessed to
    have known him for the past 28 years. My prayers and thoughts
    are with his family at this time.

  4. To my friend Ben,

    …I was just talking to you on last thursday to prepare the october
    23th, 2008 inauguration of your Napoleon collection, I am still in
    a shock!

    …It was a pleasure to be your personnal photographer & friend,
    you will always be in my mind.

    Your friend,

    Jean-François Sigouin

  5. To those of the Weider family I offer my deepest condolences. Dr
    Ben Weider is at rest. The grief remains with us. For Eric and all
    others so deeply affected by this painful parting, I wil be
    remembering you.

    Wild Bill Wilder

  6. I would like to pass my personal condolences to Eric and the rest of the Weider family. I knew that Dr Weider was a great man, but it is only having
    read this piece that I realise how magnificent his lifetime contributions truly were.

    Andrew Summersgill.

  7. I never had the honor of meeting Dr. Weider. When his son Eric would speak of his father, I noticed a deep affection and genuine enthusiasm in his
    voice. I think one measure of a life well lived are the family and friends left behind, and the record of a lifetime of service and innovation that
    made lives better around the world. By any measure, Dr. Weider left this world a better place than he found it.

  8. I never had the opportunity to meet Ben Weider, but his contributions to the study of Napoleonics and to the field of fitness and health testify to a
    life well lived. They assure that he will not be forgotten. My sympathies to Eric and all of the Weider family on their loss.

  9. I am deeply saddened to hear this news. My thoughts are with
    Eric and his family in this difficult time.

  10. I would like to offer my condolences to the Weider family during this time of loss. I pray that God comforts your family during this hard and sad
    time.

    David Heath

  11. Please accept our condolences. I know this must be a trying time.
    I hope that God can bring you a measure of peace.

    Mark Walker

  12. I offer my deepest condolences and sympathy to Eric and the Weider family.
    Dr. Weider’s life and beneficence should be an inspiration to all of us.

  13. Thank you all for your very kind words. I aprpeciate it very
    much.

  14. Your father was a great man with many acomplishments in the
    history field that aided every scholar and student of history.Our
    prayers are with your family at this time.

  15. I am so sorry to hear the news of your father’s passing. It is an
    amazing life story. Everyone in Canada knows the name Weider
    and its association to fitness; but I had no idea of his connection to
    the Royal Canadian Artillery (and me being a gunner in the
    same!). Your father clearly lived a full and vibrant life, and has
    succeeded in leaving the world a far better place for his efforts.
    Ubique!
    Marc LaPlante
    30th Fd Regt, RCA

  16. We are too late to express our feelings on the sad demise of Mr. Ben
    Weider, the Father of Modern Body Building but it was a bad luck
    that we got this sad news today itself. It is a great loss to the Body
    Building World. No doubt Mr. Weider will not be with us but his
    inspiration is always there for the lovers of Body Building. When
    we met Mr. Paul Chua some years back in Jalandhar (Punjab)
    India , he told us a lot about the contribution of Mr. Weider for the
    promotion of Body Building .

    We on behalf of hundreds of upcoming Body Builders express our
    grief & sorrow. He will always be remembered. May God grant
    the departed soul peace!

    Regards,

    Rishi Gulati & Jeetu Dhaliwal
    Faridkot (Punjab) INDIA .

  17. Like everyone else, I too am deeply saddened by the sudden death
    of Ben Weider.

    I got to know Ben as the managing director of Savas Beatie, and
    we published his book “The Wars Against Napoleon” earlier this
    year. We spoke on the phone or emailed at least once a week, and I
    grew to quickly appreciate his kindness, generosity, good business
    acumen, and deep sense of right and wrong. He is one of the few
    authors I would publish with a handshake and a dinner instead of
    a signed contract. Unfortunately, I never had a chance to meet
    Ben face-to-face. It was certainly my loss.

    But I know the Ben lives on in his children, and in especially his
    son Eric, who has all of the same attributes and abilities of his
    father.

    All of us at Savas Beatie extend our heartfelt condolences to the
    Weider family.

    Theodore P. Savas
    http://www.savasbeatie.com

  18. “Ben Weider was the single and most important resource and
    presence in the bodybuilding and fitness scene over the past 60
    years. A fearless and undying leader in the bodybuilding
    industry it can go without saying that all we are today would
    never be without the masterful hand and artistry of Ben
    Weider”.

    Ben Weider created the multi million dollar industries we now
    call the modern day bodybuilding era with Brother Joe.
    Together Ben Weider and brother Joe made the magic come
    alive. Ben opened more doors for more people than we all
    collectively could not accomplish in many life times.

    We owe Ben a debt of thanks for his perseverance, determination,
    Tánaistí and staying power.

    Thank you for your counsel and mentorship Ben. We hope for a
    safe passage!

    Your friend,

    Mike Glass – Entertainment Productions® Est. 1971

    http://www.womensfigure.com

  19. TO MY FRIEND DR BEN WEIDER
    NOW AFTER THE SHOCK IS GONE I STILL FEEL THE SDANESS INSIDE, MY VOICE BECAME HARSH AND MY EYES FILLED WITH TEARS. YOU WERE A NOBLE MAN A TRUE FRIEND .
    YOU WERE THERE FOR ALL OF THOSE WHO NEEDED YOU NOW IT SEEMS THAT HEAVEN NEEDS YOU.
    THE WORDS ARE NOT ENOUGH THE EMOTIONS ARE VERY STRONGS , WE HAVE TO SUBMIT TO GOD’S WILL AND ACCEPT HIS JUDGEMENT.
    THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS THAT THE JOURNEY OF LIFE HOW WE LIVE IT AND WHAT IMPACT WE LEAVE BEHIND AND HOW MANY FRIENDS WILL MISS US AFTER WE ARE GONE
    DR WEIDER YOUR LIFE WAS FULL OF LOVE TO ALL PEOPLE DIFFERENT NATIONALITIES, DIFFERENT COLOURS YOUR LIFE WAS FULL OF PRICIPLES , DIGNITY, PRIDE AND COMPASSION.
    YOU GAVE YOUR LIFE TO THE SPORT THAT YOU LOVED TO THE PEOPLE FROM THE CHAMPIOS TO THE SIMPLE ORDINARY HUMANBEINGS ALL THAT YOU GAVE WAS LOVE HOPE AND FRIENDSHIP.
    I WILL MISS YOU FOR EVER MY FRIEND
    DR HUSSEIN TOGA. AMMAN. JORDAN

  20. A sad passing,but what a legacy. I wish I would have known the man. Thank you Sir, for leavinf such a traceable shadow. R.I.P.

  21. The measure of a mans life is in the hearts of those left behind. It would appear Dr Weider was one o f human kinds greats. Sorry for your loss.

  22. I found this marvelous homage page in the Mexico-France Napoleonic Institute’s website: http://inmf.org/benhonneurf.htm

    Too bad there’s not an English version! :(

  23. thank.

  24. I was very sorry to read Ben Wieder is no longer amongst us.
    I was surfing the pages about Napoleon on the Internet and came across the wonderful “CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE OF THE PRINCIPAL EVENTS IN THE LIFE OF NAPOLEON” Ben Weider started and wasn’t able to finish.

    http://www.napoleonicsociety.com/english/TableOfEvents_page1.htm

    I dearly hope someone picks up the “Chronological Table…” made by Ben Weider.. where it stops.. in Spain 1808…

    Someone would continue and end this. Just to honor him.

    With much regards,
    Chris Cleutjens – Antwerpen-Belgium

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tabletown Diary » Ben Weider. - [...] Full details here. [...]

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>