Carl Gieseke, former local YMCA head, dies at 89

Carl F. Gieseke, a former 15-year director of the Crescenta-Cañada Family YMCA, died May 16 in Fresno, it was reported this week by YMCA officials. He was 89.

A celebration of his life will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 12 at the CC-YMCA, located at 1930 Foothill Blvd.

Gieseke, a Wisconsin native, served in the U.S. Navy has a young man, then attended Springfield College preparing to do work with youth. His first job was with the Peoria YMCA, then he worked at YMCA Camp Duncan in Ingleside, Ill. and the YMCA of Chicago before moving to west to La Cañada to take the post at the CC-YMCA in the early 1960s. In 1972, during his stint at the La Cañada facility, Gieseke was given the Les Tupper Award for community service by the La Cañada Flintridge Coordinating Council.

After leaving the YMCA, Gieseke worked with the ALS Society, California Literacy, and the United Way of Antelope Valley.

In 1995 the Valley Sun reported that Gieseke, after having spent 45 years in the field of nonprofit management, was returning to the Crescenta-Cañada Y to work in the facility’s newly established volunteer program.

According to longtime friends Terry and Kathy Horak, Gieseke spent the last years of his life living near them in Fresno. “He loved to get out of doors and sit in the sun, remember great times and experiences with the YMCA, and dream of fishing once again in the California High Sierra,” Terry Horak said in the news release issued by the CC-YMCA.

Gieseke is survived by his son, Peter; his sister, June Fleck and a niece. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Edith Gieseke and his second wife, Margie Gieseke.

A campership fund has been set up in Gieseke’s memory. Contributions can be marked “Carl F. Gieseke Campership Fund” and sent to the Crescenta-Cañada Family YMCA, 1930 Foothill Blvd., La Cañada, CA 91011.