John Lester Ciesemier, 86, of Ashburn, Virginia, died on July 6th, 2023, (making sure he reached 86 and was able to enjoy his birthday the day prior, July 5th) at his home. As was my father’s sense of humor, he was in fact NOT surrounded by loved ones but waited until family had left his bedside before sneaking away unnoticed. For a German, he was a master of the Irish Goodbye.
Born on July 5th, 1937 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he was the son of Lester Ciesemier and Henrietta Schinker Ciesemier. He attended Milwaukee Boys Technical High School where he was the captain of the football team, and, on the advice of his oldest brother Allen, attended Marquette University where he met his wife of forty years, who preceded him in death on May 27, 2000. Which, if you do the math, meant that for 23 years, my dad no longer had to listen to the constant barrage of classical music that his wife played, all day, every day (he appreciated Classical, but loved Big Band and Jazz). During the classical years, he forced his three children to grudgingly attend the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Spanish guitarist Andres Segovia, classical pianist Ludwig Von Beethoven (Ha. Making sure you’re reading this…) numerous Operas, etcetera.
Jack enjoyed all the things that the city of Milwaukee had to offer during his childhood, including the local museums and swimming in the Milwaukee River. After graduating from Marquette University with a degree in Business Administration, he married and settled in the suburbs of Chicago. He lived in Wheaton, Illinois, for 23 years while working briefly for Sears, Roebuck, and Co., and then Montgomery Ward, rising through the ranks to ultimately oversee the electronics department. In the 1980’s, Jack started long distance training for the Chicago Marathon that he ran in sometime in the early 1980’s. I just can’t remember the exact year, but it was such a huge accomplishment that I couldn’t leave it out. He also was a proud, card-carrying member of the Ciesemier “Bobcats” fishing group whose sole purpose is to travel every May to Ontario Canada and go after such things as “Killer Kelp” and maybe a mountable trophy fish or two. No women were ever allowed on these top secret, “men only” trips. We could only guess the antics that most certainly transpired. In addition to Canada, Jack caught many other trophy fish including a Marlin and a Sailfish which grossed out both his mother-in-law and his daughter Kit.
After the Wheaton years, Jack and Judy moved to Omaha Nebraska where he was Vice President of Marketing for Northwestern Bell phones. Then, realizing that Omaha wasn’t the same thing as Chicago, they packed up and headed back to the Chicago area to start his own business, Global Marketing International. It was during this time when he became an avid, skilled sailor for many years, participating in both local and long-distance races, including the famous “Hook, Death’s Door Challenge” race from Racine Wisconsin to Menominee, Michigan. He also completed a single-handed race at the age of 80, which gave his children heart attacks until he returned safely back to shore. He was a member of both the Racine and Kenosha Wisconsin Yacht Clubs where he is missed and remembered fondly, but we are certain that bronze busts of him will be erected in both places very soon.
In addition to his wife, he was preceded in death by his brothers, Allen Ciesemier, Lester Ciesemier; sisters, Joyce Ciesemier Proechel, Marianne Ciesemier Zach, and Patricia Ciesemier Sloboda. It was with those treasured siblings where most holidays, holy days, vacations, etc., were enjoyed with unending jokes, laughter, and a whole bunch of long awaited, overcooked Geese, because could dad just have a traditional Turkey at Christmas? Nooooooo…!
He is survived by his three children who held sneaky, loud, parties when he and Judy weren’t around, (and sometimes when they were), Mann Page (Jennifer) Ciesemier, Katherine (Daniel) McKeon, and Cary Brinkley. He is also survived by his beloved grandchildren, who no doubt, continue the party tradition: Margaret (Sean) House, Channing (Emmaline) Parker, Mary Page McKeon, Carter Ciesemier, Jacqueline McKeon, Caden Ciesemier and Aadia Brinkley. He is also survived by his treasured nieces and nephews, Alan Ciesemier, Steven Ciesemier, Brian Ciesemier, Robert Ciesemier, Michael Ciesemier, Gregory Proechel, Garth Proechel, Kevin Zach, Tamara Kirkpatrick, Jennifer Bolton, Lawrence Ciesemier, M.D., and Heidi Phillips.
Special thanks go out to Compassus Palliative and Hospice Care of Chantilly Virginia for their compassionate, professional, and prompt care in his final weeks; his oncologist, Dr. Syed Ali, and radiation oncologist, Dr. Michael Eblan, who, in addition to being consummate experts in their respective medical disciplines, have a spot on sense of fashion.
Services will take place on Friday, July 14, 2023 at Holy Name Cathedral, 735 N State St, Chicago, IL 60654. A visitation will be at 9:30 a.m., followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 a.m. All are invited to a luncheon following the services. Location to be announced.
Interment will be at Grace Episcopal Church, Keswick, Virginia, to be announced at later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests for donations to be made to the American Diabetes Association at https://diabetes.org/ or mailed to P.O. Box 7023 Merrifield, VA 22116-7023.