Port Isabel - George P. Lesieutre 85, passed away, Thursday, July 21, 2022 at Valley Regional Medical Center.
George Pierre Lesieutre, 85, passed away at home on July 21, 2022 in Port Isabel, near South Padre Island, Texas. He was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France (near Paris) to Georges Marcel Lesieutre and Leontine (Edith) Courtin, the third of six children. His family moved to St. Jean le Thomas (Normandy), across the bay from Mont St. Michel, prior to WWII. George never forgot the morning of the Normandy invasion: the noise and the sky filled with planes. The family returned to Paris late in the war; George remembered the Bastille Day celebration parade there in 1945.
His father was in the maritime shipping business and traveled to New York after the war to assist in coordination of the Marshall Plan. He subsequently sent for his family, and they sailed for the U.S. on July 3, 1946 on the S.S. Oregon, when George was almost 10 years old. They settled in Larchmont, NY on Long Island Sound. George learned how to dance and held the first of many part-time jobs when he was in the 8th grade. He attended Archbishop Stepinac High School, and he and his date won a dance contest with a tango at his junior prom. His family took vacations around New England and a memorable one to the southwest-before there were Interstate Highways. George and his brother Jean rebuilt an old wooden sailboat and spent many happy hours sailing on the Sound. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen around 1954.
George took classes at the University of Detroit and Henry Ford Community College, and met JoAnne O'Rorke at a parish teen social dance in Detroit when he was nineteen. They were married at Presentation Church in Detroit in August 1957. Children followed soon thereafter. George made a career in risk management, and it took the family around Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio. He was Assistant Treasurer at American Bakeries Company in Chicago for more than 20 years, and later worked as Cash & Risk Manager at Barber-Colman Co. for almost 20 more, retiring in 1998 as Director of Saxon Insurance, Invensys. George was a scout leader and Sunday-school teacher, and was elected to the Streamwood (IL) board of trustees as well as the U-46 (IL) school board. George and JoAnn loved family gatherings, laughing, dancing, and singing. The family enjoyed road trips all over the eastern part of the U.S., a love that was passed down and continues today. They were proud that all six of their children earned advanced degrees and put their talents to work in unique ways.
George and JoAnne retired to South Padre Island, Texas, where he renewed his childhood love of the sea and they immersed themselves in their new community. Long after retirement, George was active in the Laguna Madre Yacht Club, the Seascape Condominiums board, and St. Andrews by the Sea Episcopal Church. The road trips continued, as they visited children, friends and national parks all over the country. He loved ice cream and thought it an appropriate meal for grandchildren. JoAnne passed away suddenly in 2017.
In 2020, lightning struck twice and George found love again with Cathy Saunders O'Shea. In a whirlwind romance during COVID times, they explored the beaches of SPI, and took road trips all over the country meeting each other's families and Cathy's old band members. On a trip to Paris, and to the delight of their families, George surprised her with a ring at the top of the Eiffel Tower, and they were married in late December 2021. Grandchildren from both sides made it a party to remember. "Pierre" and "Cate" recently enjoyed a multi-week RV adventure that took them to Florida, Savannah, New Orleans, and other points east. They loved a good meal with friends, a little wine, and dancing.
George was preceded in death by two sisters, Colette and Giselle. He is survived by his wife Catherine, brothers Jean and René, sister Catherine, four sons and two daughters and their spouses as well as fourteen grandchildren and one great-granddaughter - George and Annie Lesieutre, State College, Pennsylvania, and sons John (wife Ana, daughter Sally) and Will (wife Phoebe); Chris and Elizabeth Lesieutre, Dundee, Oregon, and children Rebecca, James, Madeleine, Alexandre, and Charlotte; Daniel and Teresa Lesieutre, San Jose, California, and children Maria (husband Joe) and Joseph; Bernie and Susie Seefelt Lesieutre, Madison, Wisconsin, and daughter Noemy; Aimée Lesieutre and Mike Fay, Philomath, Oregon; Annette and Brendan Honan, Park Ridge, Illinois and children Aidan, Molly, Jackie and Annie.
He exemplified "joie de vivre," and genuinely loved people. His heart and his joy shone through to all who were lucky enough to know him. A memorial celebration is planned for Thursday, July 28, at 10:00 a.m. at the pavilion at Isla Blanca Park, South Padre Island, with a reception following at St. Andrew's by the Sea Episcopal Church in Port Isabel. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Diocese of West Texas (DWTX) World Missions - either specifically for Habitat for Humanity West Texas or "Use where most needed."