John Andrew Giesken Class of 1949
John Andrew Giesken was known as the “Super Sub”.
John was born in 1930 near Ottoville, the youngest of 13 children. His family moved to Delphos and John joined St John’s as a high school freshman. When he graduated in 1949 – those four years were all it took to make him both famous and passionate about being a Blue Jay
Like many in the area, John had learned to play basketball in elementary school and around the farm with his brothers (all eight of them). And he had developed some amazing shooting skills.
On the DSJ Varsity team he became known as the “Super Sub” – a not-so-secret weapon that could be inserted into games whenever the team needed extra points. “When they put me in, my job was to make a basket.” John said. And he was legendary at dropping them. One fan recalls, “John was so good that if he was double teamed, he could drop in shots from half court!”
In his senior year John was part of the team that won the state championship - and his shooting was instrumental in the victory.
John and his wife Clara raised four children Julie, Jim, John, Jennifer - but many remember how Mr. Giesken influenced and improved the lives of many other young men from the Landeck area.
John would leave work early each day and drive to Landeck and spend part of his day teaching “his boys” the finer points of basketball.
Ed Klaus was one of those students and remembers, “After we learned a few things, John would load us up in his car – about thirteen 7th & 8th graders - and take us to St John’s for a scrimmage. The car was packed!”
Sometimes when Mr. Geisken dropped by the gym - Coach Arnzen would halt his practice so John could show the young boys his skills. John had a very unusual stance, coming up on one leg when he shot. But it didn’t matter, when John arched the ball - it was all net.
Son Jim Giesken recalls his family’s commitment to hard work, education and faith this way, “Dad would work a full day – then a second job at night, sometimes up to 12 hours a day - and all day on Saturday. And he would still find time to work with the students. His sacrifice allowed his children to go to St John’s, it was that important to him.”
Ed Klaus adds “There are many things I can say about Johnny - he is very gentle and giving man, kind, respectful and a true gentleman.”
Son Jim continued, “My goal in life is to try to be almost as good a man as my father.”
Bishop Albert Ottenweller (1916-2012)
Albert Ottenweller was born April 5, 1916 in Montana. The family resettled to Leipsic, Ohio when Albert was 6 years old. Albert attended St. Marys grade school in Leipsic before attending St. Josephs High School and St. Josephs College in Indiana. He recalled that tuition in the depths of the Depression was only $100 a year but his family had to sacrifice to pay it. He later went on to receive advanced degrees from Catholic University in Washington, D.C.
He was ordained a parish priest for the Diocese of Toledo in 1943 and assigned to Delphos St. John’s (DSJ) where he served for the next 16 years. He taught Biology in the high school as well as his work in the parish. After a decade of serving other parishes in the Toledo Diocese, Father Ottenweller, as he was then called, returned to DSJ to serve as Pastor from 1968 to 1976. In all, he spent 24 years, a quarter of his life, ministering at DSJ.
Former DSJ Principal George Adams described Bishop Ottenweller this way, “He was a holy man and a priest's priest. He gave of himself for just causes and worked for people in need.”
DSJ grad Elaine Arnzen Sheehan recalls, “Bishop Ottenweller had a knack for making those around him feel important and un-judged. He championed the causes of the weak and persecuted.”
Some of those he championed were the migrant populations in Ohio. Indeed, the Bishop often seemed to have God standing with him when serving the migrants. In a favorite story, the migrant workers in his parish were in dire need of food. Bishop Ottenweller had been praying for help. He answered a knock at the rectory door to find a young boy who handed him a large picture of the Lady of Guadalupe. The boy said “My mother wanted you to have this” and walked away. Minutes later the phone rang and a local welfare officer said he planned to hold a news conference – the conference resulted in huge donations that soon overflowed the storage facility. “I think Our Lady of Guadalupe was taking care of her people,” the Bishop said with a wink.
Pope Paul VI named Father Ottenweller auxiliary bishop for the Toledo diocese in 1974. He became a full bishop in 1977 and served the Diocese of Steubenville until his retirement in 1992.
Ms. Sheehan concludes: “DSJ is privileged to have been loved and served by Bishop Albert Ottenweller. He was a proud Blue Jay to the end of his earthly life.”
Paul Henry Baumgarte Class of 1939
Paul Baumgarte was born in 1921 in Landeck and graduated from DSJ in 1939. Paul says he can still recall his favorite math and science teachers – Sister Bernice and Miss Juanita Corbin. They sparked an interest in him, one that would become both his success and his passion in life.
With World War II approaching Paul joined the US Army Air Corps and was sent to Columbus Ohio. It was his first trip to a big city – and his travel was just getting started.
From Columbus the Army sent Paul to Radio School where the boy who loved math began to come into his own. Assigned to build radio stations for the military - the young man from Delphos began to discover the world. He visited Trinidad, and Brazil. From there it was on to the Gold Coast of Africa, Nigeria and the Congo. Next he visited Cairo, Nigeria, and Sudan. Then off to India, where he visited the Taj Mahal, New Delhi, and Calcutta, building radio stations at every stop. Not bad for someone, who only a few years before had not been further than 50 miles from St. Johns!
When he returned from the war, Paul used the GI bill and went back to school in New York City and attended the prestigious RCA Institute – now the math and science he learned at DSJ really paid off. He became a computer specialist and had a chance to work with the top scientists in the world including Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer and Thomas Watson. One of his first projects was called the SSEC Computer (Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator) one of the largest computers in the world. It had 12,500 tubes, 24,500 relays, and over 5,000+ miles of wire. He later went to work for IBM and worked on computers used by the Atomic Energy Commission for nuclear research… and again his work took him all over the world.
Paul retired in 1977, moved back to Delphos and began teaching electronics at Lima Technical College. He spent 23 years passing along his knowledge to the next generation.
When it comes to working with the best and brightest, seeing the world, and bringing it all back to St. Johns - few have done more than Paul Baumgarte!