Obituary: John Edward Kiesling (Nov. 3, 1947 – March 10, 2014)

By Submitted March 17, 2014 05:53 pm

 John Edward Kiesling was born in Berkeley, Calif., on Nov. 3, 1947, and died in his home on the outskirts of Bisbee, Ariz., near the Arizona-Mexican border on March 10, 2014. 

He is survived by his wife Dorothy; their daughter, Emily and her husband Joby Rumiano of Brookings, Ore., and their son David Kiesling of Pacifica, Calif. His father Richard, mother Cecilia and sister Frances Kiesling Clark preceded him in death.


John spent the first few years of his life living in Point Arena and various places around the Redding, Calif., area as his Dad was a mechanic for a road construction crew. The family then moved to Humboldt County and he graduated from McKinleyville High School. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1966 and returned to America in 1968 with two purple hearts, two bronze stars and countless other medals for his heroic achievements at age 20. At age 24, he built his first commercial fishing boat, a 31-footer aptly named, the Painstake. During this time he also earned his B.A. in Philosophy from Humboldt State University. He married Dorothy Johnson in 1971 and two years later moved to Crescent City to become a counselor for teenage boys at Bar-O Ranch in Gasquet, Calif.

For the following two decades he developed commercial buildings and built custom homes in Crescent City. For fun, John always had a boat project going, dories, row boats, kayaks, dive boats, even having his hobby designs featured in Professional Boatbuilder Magazine. John loved his freedom and that led to the purchase of the sailboat Begone, in Sausalito, Calif., a past racing boat originally from the Canary Islands, which he put five years into restoring before he and Dorothy set sail from Crescent City to Mexico. They spent nearly six winter seasons up and down the Pacific Coast of Mexico and in the Sea of Cortez, swimming with whale sharks, fishing, and making new friends at the Marinas. 

John read anything that he could get his hands on, usually subject matters revolving around mechanics, philosophy, art, science, ethics, and religion. In the last year of his life he finished writing a book on the psychology of war in the United States. Between his treatments for lyposarcoma at M.D. Anderson in Scottsdale, Ariz., many of his dear friends from all corners and places traveled to visit him. His cousin Patrick Kiesling, of Hayward, Calif., stayed with him for the final seven months to help him finish the home he was building for his wife Dorothy.

John was a member of the Del Norte County Fair Board for four years and the Planning Commission for eight years.

— Submitted by Family