Dean Hartley Gesme Sr.
Dean Hartley Gesme Sr., of Cedar Rapids, passed away in the loving arms of his dear Savior at the age of 91, on Friday, Oct. 9, 2020, after a long and purposeful life.
Dean was born in Lake Mills, Iowa, on Dec. 31, 1928, to Edward and Gena Gesme. He grew up in Lake Mills, where he attended public school, graduating in 1946, after which he enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he served in Korea. At the end of his term of duty in the army, he entered Luther College, and in three years graduated with degrees in business and speech in 1951.
He married Anna Mae Urness on July 22, 1950. They lived first in Decorah, before moving to Waterloo, Iowa, where Dean became an internal auditor at Rath Packing Co. In 1958, the family moved to Cedar Rapids and Dean began his long career as a management consultant for physicians and dentists with Professional Management Midwest. He became division manager and a partner in the firm until his retirement in 1993. He served in several offices in SPBC, a national Society of Professional Business Consultants.
As a youth, he earned his Eagle Scout Award and continued to be active in Boy Scouts as an adult leader. He held leadership roles in his churches, served on the Board of Directors of the Lutheran Homes Society in Muscatine, Iowa, and was a member of Amvets, Rotary and Optimists. For 20 years, he was a volunteer with SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) at both a local and district level. President George W. Bush presented Dean with the President's Silver Volunteer Service Award when Air Force One landed at the Cedar Rapids airport in 2004. In April 2011, Dean joined other World War II veterans for a one-day visit on an Eastern Iowa Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. There they visited the World War II Memorial and other military landmarks.
Celebrating the family's Norwegian heritage was an important part of Dean's life. In 1975, he was one of the founding members of the Sons of Norway Lodge in Cedar Rapids, and was on the board of Vesterheim in Decorah, Iowa, and the Norwegian Genealogy Center in Madison, Wis. He was president of Vosselag and was active with numerous organizations that celebrate history, customs and traditions of Norway and traveled to Norway many times.
Dean was a beloved husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin and friend to many. He is remembered for the happiness, leadership, kindness, honorable and principled ideals which he conveyed and lived. His family forever will cherish the memories of family trips to visit grandparents, vacations, reunions, church, Christmas open house, and especially the family trip to Norway in 1999. Dean and Ann have lived in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for 62 years and resided at Cottage Grove Place for the past 11 years.
Dean is survived by his wife of 70 years, Ann; three children, Dr. Dean H. Gesme Jr. (Laura), Karen Brunssen (Kim) and Martha Nielsen (Peter); five grandchildren, Greta Wicker (Colin), Kerstin Balfour (Don), Erika Gesme, Karl Brunssen and Emma Nielsen; five great-grandchildren, Chase and Parker Balfour, Soren, Berit and Silje Wicker; and a brother, James Gesme.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and siblings, Keith, Marlene, Earl and Marilyn.
There will be a private family service at First Lutheran Church and Dean will be laid to rest at the Vermont Lutheran Church Cemetery in Black Earth, Wis.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be directed to Vermont Lutheran Church in Black Earth, Wis., First Lutheran Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, or Vesterheim, the National Norwegian-American Museum & Heritage Center in Decorah, Iowa.
Please leave a message or tribute to Dean's family on our web page, www.cedarmemorial.com under obituaries.