George Heesen

1955 - 2011, Santa Barbara

11/14/1955 - 11/18/2011

George Heesen passed away at his Santa Barbara home early in the morning of November 18.

Born to John and Audreey Heesen of Pomona in Novemeber 1955, George graduated with a degree in animal science from Cal Poly Pomona. Shortly thereafter George moved to Santa Barbara where he began a 27-year career with the YMCA. George’s commitment to the Y’s mission infused every task, particularly those toughing Santa Barbara’s youth. George excelled at getting things done and getting them done right.

During a trip to India in 1984, George met his wife, Gayatri Chopra. The devotion, profound support and wonderful humor pervading their relationship has prompted continuous personal growth. Gayatri has become a well-regarded acupuncturist, and George was forever finding broader ways to contribute to the Santa Barbara community. The birth of their son, Rohun, in 1991 took George into Indian Guides and Math Superbowl coaching. Gayatri and Rohun learned to share George’s love of the Eastern High Sierras, fly-fishing, canoeing, and skiing, all things George had inherited from his own father. Recently George and Rohun restored a bug-eye Austin Healy Sprite which has won multiple awards and been featured, together with their special father-son relationship, in national auto restoration publications.

George is survived by his wife, son, mother, three brothers, and extended families in India as well as the US. George, Gayatri, and Rohun also have countless dear friends on both continents, including the Ristig family, Kate Wallace, Doug Clegg and Jan Millar. There will be a celebration of George’s life at 5:00pm on December 9 at the First Methodist Church, 305 East Anapamu St., Santa Barbara.

Those wishing to honor George’s life may wish to do so by making a contribution to Heifer Intl. or Tara Vati Ramgopal Mehra Foundation. Both can be found on the internet.

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