Hobart Hall of Famer Raymond W. Van Giesen ’31, 104, passed away at the Iroquois Nursing Home on Au. 31. He was believed to have been the oldest living Statesman.
“Ray was a wonderful person and will always be remembered as one of Hobart’s greatest Statesmen,” said Jared Weeden, director of alumni relations.
A biology and chemistry major, Van Giesen was a member of the junior class and science honor societies at Hobart. He earned varsity letters in both football and lacrosse. As a senior midfielder, Van Giesen captained the Hobart lacrosse team and earned All-American honors in both his junior and senior seasons. At the conclusion of his playing days, Ray became very involved in officiating college lacrosse, eventually becoming the chief official for Upstate New York. He was inducted into the Upstate New York Lacrosse Hall of Fame in recognition of his outstanding play at Hobart and for his contributions to the game as an official in 1994. Van Giesen was inducted into the Hobart Athletics Hall of Fame in 2002.
Van Giesen was a Life Member of the Statesmen Athletic Association and a generous donor to projects such as the Bristol Field House, the Scandling Center, and the Melly Academic Center. In 1981, he was recognized with an Alumni Citation from the Hobart Alumni Council and, in 1988, Van Giesen received the prestigious Hobart Medal of Excellence.
Van Giesen was born in the Town of Aurelius, Cayuga County, in 1906. He received his elementary education in a one room school house in Fosterville and graduated from Auburn Academic High School in 1927. After graduating from Hobart, Van Giesen continued his education, receiving a master’s degree in education from Cornell in 1941. While at Cornell, he was president of Phi Delta Kappa. He continued his doctoral studies at Syracuse.
Van Giesen was an educator for 58 years. He taught science, coached football, lacrosse and hockey, and was vice principal at Fayetteville High School. Van Giesen began the first high school lacrosse team in Central New York in 1932. From 1937-1951, he was supervising principal and from 1951 to 1958, Van Giesen was the district superintendent and effected the merger of the Fayetteville and Manlius school districts. He retired in 1961 to become a career counselor for Central City Business Institute, retiring from there in 1989.
Van Giesen was received as a member of the Fifty Forever Lacrosse Club in 1980. He was a proud charter member of the Fayetteville Lions Club and served as secretary/treasurer for many years.
Van Giesen married Stella Jones of Auburn in 1927, she passed away in 1964. His second wife, Arlene Manton died in 2002. He was also predeceased by his parents, Frank and Lavina Van Giesen; a sister, Marian Wright; and two brothers, LlLewelyn and Chester Van Giesen.
He is survived by a daughter, Jean (Warren) Palmiter; stepchildren, James (Eleanor Manton), John (Doris) Manton, Barbara Johnson and Patricia Seago, 11 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren.
This release includes information from Van Giesen’s obituary that appears on the Eaton-Tubbs-Schepp Funeral Home website.