Obituary: Samuel C. Gesko

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Posted at 6:01 PM, Apr 16, 2024

Samuel C. Gesko, Jr. was born on December 7, 1926, in Detroit, Michigan to Samuel C. Gesko, Sr. a Detroit police officer, and Barbara (Fuleki) Gesko. His early education consisted of 9 years at a Lutheran parochial school plus 2 years at a Detroit high-school, graduating in 1944 from Brooklyn, Michigan high-school, near the farm to which the family had moved following his father's retirement from the Detroit Police Department.

The Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor on his birthday in 1941 precipitating the US entry into WW II. He enlisted in the Navy, served as a hospital corpsman and was honorably discharged in 1946. Upon his discharge, he enrolled at the University of Michigan but transferred to Albion College graduating in 1950 with a BA degree.

He joyfully admitted it was love at first-sight when Jean's father introduced them to each other. Their marriage in 1953 was blessed with 2 healthy children. A daughter, Laurie who became a high-school teacher and a son David who became a Dentist and ultimately a leader/administrator in Dentistry. His wife, Jean, a registered nurse and was employed by the City of Jackson (MI) as a public health nurse. Shortly after their marriage and now working at Ford Motor Company, he again enrolled at the University of Michigan graduating in 1957 with a Master's degree in Public Administration. He then embarked in a career as a City Manager for over 30 years retiring in 1988 as a City Manager in Alaska.

Sam, with his wife and family, faithfully attended Lutheran Church in each of the five cities in which he served. When retired, they returned to Bozeman from Alaska. He served as President of First Lutheran Church in 3 different occasions, as an Elder and Chairman of the Board of Elders between these times.

Sam's singular passion was hunting which he began at age 8 while accompanying his father. He hunted in several states, several provinces in Canada, once in Scotland and several safaris in different African countries. His wife accompanied him on all but one of his African safaris as did his son and daughter.

He was a strong advocate of the 2nd amendment and a Benefactor member of the NRA. In the mid-90's he re-started the annual banquet/fund raiser of the Bridger Mountains Friends of the NRA serving as Chairman for 8 years and for 8 more years as a Board Member. In 1991 he joined the Southwest Mountain Chapter of Safari Club International (SCI) again serving as chairman for 6 of the 16 years on the Board of Directors.

After a long 4-year battle with numerous medical challenges including cancer, Sam is survived by his wife Jean, daughter Laurie Stelter (husband John), son Dr. David Gesko (wife Leslie), Grandchildren Tracey Strawbridge, Abbey Barnhart (husband Elliott), Dr. Samuel Gesko (wife Dr. Kieran Gesko). Great grandchildren Gavyn and Adilynn Strawbridge, Jesse and Tizer Barnhart, and Samuel Gesko, Jr.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in honor of Sam to Emmaus Lutheran Church, 801 E. Park Street, Livingston, MT 59047. Sam (and Jean) worshiped at this mission church when the drive to Bozeman became a challenge.

A Funeral Service will be held 11:00 A.M. Monday, April 29th 2024 at the First Lutheran Church in Bozeman, MT.

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. []