John Weiss was born in Brainerd, Minnesota. He grew up in the small town along the Mississippi River, attended Crosier Seminary in Onamia for four years of high school and one year of college before transferring to Saint John’s University in Collegeville. He earned degrees in English and Humanities, and also played on the college’s soccer team and its rugby club.
After graduation, he worked writing sports for Sun Newspaper in the Twin Cities then switched to news. In November 1975, he joined the Rochester Post Bulletin where he began as the business writer. John soon changed to covering the outdoors and regional news. In April 1977, he began writing an outdoors column; in March 2006, he began writing Back Roads.
John retired September 30, 2016, but he continues to write the outdoors column and some freelance stories for the Post Bulletin. In his tenure at the P-B, he received three or four dozen state or national writing honors including twice receiving the Premack Award, the top journalism honor in Minnesota, and was chosen for the National Izaak Walton League’s national Honor Roll Award for his conservation writing.
John and Debbie Weiss have been married forty-two years. They have three children: John Moore-Weiss, Angela Weiss and Charlie Weiss; two daughters-in-law; and two grandchildren.
In his spare time, he hunts, fishes, takes outdoors photos, camps, hikes, reads and volunteers his time for his church and various conservation causes.