LEWISBURG, Pa. (AP) _ Sigfried Weis, co-chairman and president of the 150-store Weis Markets Inc. grocery chain, died Sunday at his home near Lewisburg after a lengthy illness. He was 79.

Weis' grandfather and namesake, Sigfried Weis, opened a general store in Sunbury, Pa., in 1870. His sons, Sigmund and Harry, formed Weis Markets Inc. in 1912 and started opening corner groceries throughout Pennsylvania.

The company opened its first supermarket in Harrisburg shortly before Sigmund's son, Sigfried Weis, joined in 1938. Supermarkets, at that time an innovation, eventually replaced corner groceries as Weis Markets' main business.

Weis became company president in 1960. With his cousin and co-chairman, Robert Weis, he doubled the number of grocery stores and started the Weis Food Service Business, selling quantity foods to restaurants, nursing homes and hospitals.

In 1994, Weis Markets, based in Sunbury, had revenues of $1.44 billion and had 14,500 employees.