Obituary Condolences

George Henry Tesar George Tesar, a long-time resident of St. Paul, MN died peacefully in his home in Mill Valley, CA on July 24th. A picture of health at age 91, he was struck by a series of strokes that hastened his demise. He was surrounded by his three children and wife of 61 years, Elise, at the time of his death. Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1919 Mr. Tesar lived a life that can be described succinctly as "The American Dream." A star two-sport athlete in soccer and ice-hockey during his youth, his life was turned upside down during the tumultuous years of World War II. After the war he managed the family seed business before immigrating to America to start a new life with his young bride, Elise Havlova. The two came to America in 1949 and shortly thereafter Mr. Tesar was offered a position in Lincoln, NE working for the Griswold Seed Company as a seed salesman. In 1952 he was hired by the Brandeis Department Store in Omaha, Nebraska which began a 30+ year career in the retail business spent primarily with the Dayton-Hudson Corporation, now Target. Between 1956 and 1969 he managed the Dayton's stores in Sioux Falls, Rochester and St. Paul. In 1969 he became an assistant to the president of Dayton-Hudson Jewelers. He then spent three years in Chicago as president of C.D. Peacock Jewelers before returning to the Twin Cities as President and Chief Executive Officer of Dayton-Hudson Jewelers. He retired from Dayton's in 1982 to start his own jewelry consulting firm, George Tesar Associates, which he ran until 2005 when he and his wife moved to Mill Valley, CA. Wherever he worked Mr. Tesar left a long-lasting impression on his fellow employees, on his customers and on his community. In 1981, after being named "Boss of the Year" by the Minneapolis Jaycees he was honored as WCCO Radio's "Good Neighbor". In the press release it was written, "His record of community service is too long to mention here. He isamong other thingsa board member of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestraa trustee of the Minnesota Museum of Artand on the board of Northwestern National Bank of St. Paul. Says one of his employees: 'He's a mentor and a motivator. I have become a professional under his leadership. He taught me to maximize my abilities. He models trust, humor and self-motivation. Learning from him is not always easybut it is lasting.'" There are many who would echo these same words, as Mr. Tesar was a great source of advice and consultation, even after his retirement. Mr.Tesar felt very strongly about education and was proud to have his children attend the St. Paul Academy. He served on the Academy's board for several years. His crowning civic achievement was the lighting of the St. Paul Cathedral which added a majestic glow to the nightscape of downtown St. Paul. An inveterate sportsman, Mr. Tesar loved nothing more than a competitive tennis doubles match. He looked forward to his annual ski trip with the "Old Goats" who traveled the world to find the best snow. He took up golf in his 60's and found that the beauty of the Somerset Country Club golf course was enough to offset the frustration with his game. When he could no longer be active in sports he took great pleasure in watching his grandchildren participate in soccer, lacrosse, ice-hockey and basketball. During the final chapter of his life in Mill Valley he spent his time communicating via email with friends around the world, following the stock market, learning Italian and sitting on his sun-drenched deck overlooking the hills of Sausalito and the skyline of San Francisco. Survivors include Mr. Tesar's wife, Elise, his sons and daughters-in-law Dr. George and Kris Tesar of Chagrin Falls, OH, Robert and Kathleen Tesar of Lake Bluff, IL, his daughter Lisa Tesar-Capretta and her husband Ricardo of Mill Valley, a brother Peter Tesar of Oakville, Ontario, and nine grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at the Fernwood Cemetery in Mill Valley, CA on August 19, 2010. In lieu of flowers, donations in his name may be made to Marin General Hospital or Hospice by the Bay both in Larkspur.
Published in Marin Independent Journal on Aug. 1, 2010
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