Feb. 2, 1926 — Aug. 3, 2019
Celeste Olsen Giesecke, 93, of Fairfax, Virginia, died peacefully on Aug. 3, 2019.
Celeste was preceded in death by her husband, Fritz H. Giesecke, her older daughter, Roxane Lucas, and her sister, Olise Olsen Tukey.
She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Corinne and Howard Wetzel, of Fairfax, Virginia; her sister, Judith Olsen Honl, of Astoria; and three grandchildren.
Born in Chinook, Washington, in 1926, to Oscar “Bill” and Emily Olsen, Celeste spent her childhood among her Norwegian grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. The family later moved across the Columbia River to Astoria, where she attended Lewis and Clark Junior High School, and graduated from Astoria High School in 1944.
An honor student at AHS, she was editor of the Zephyrus yearbook, and cheered on the teams with the Pep Club. She was an active member of the community, including service with the USO during World War II. With her family, she attended the First Norwegian Lutheran Church, which had been co-founded by her grandparents soon after their arrival in the 1880s.
Celeste’s lifelong interest in politics and government began at the University of Oregon, where she was a political science major. She joined Alpha Delta Pi sorority at the U of O, and met her future husband, Fritz, who had just returned from European service in World War II. The two were married at the Olsen family home on Grand Avenue in 1946; she graduated in 1949.
Fritz’s foreign service career took them to Vienna, Austria, in 1950, where Celeste learned to speak German, skied in the Alps, studied voice with an opera singer and became a mother (Roxane). Celeste involved herself with the Girl Scouts wherever she lived. More assignments, adventures and another child (Corinne) followed in Salzburg, Austria, Berlin, Germany, and Stockholm, Sweden.
Between overseas tours, the family made their home in northern Virginia. In 1963, Fritz took a year’s sabbatical from the federal government, bringing the family to Astoria and practicing law with Wyatt, McDonald and Dean. Celeste led a Girl Scout troop in Astoria during that time.
In 1965, Celeste began her teaching career as an elementary school teacher in Virginia, retiring in 1986.
Celeste was a devoted grandmother to her three grandchildren; a member of Abiding Presence Lutheran Church, where she taught English to Speakers of Other Languages classes; a dedicated gardener and crafter; an avid reader from a family of readers; and a lifelong learner.
Celeste was known for her loyalty to friends and family, as well as for her perpetual optimism. In a memoir for a writing class, she wrote, “I have had a good life. I have no regrets.”
She is buried with her husband, Fritz, at Quantico National Cemetery in Virginia.