John Groesch


John Groesch played at the University of Maryland Go Club during 2002. He attended regularly and was a pleasure to have at the club. He was quite serious about the game. His skill increased rapidly from about 16 kyu to about 7 kyu. Club members were shocked and saddened to learn of his untimely passing in December of 2002.

John's dedication to go was an inspiration to us all. To honor him, we have named our annual Spring tournament in his memory and we have established the John Groesch Memorial Prize for the best performance by a player under the age of 20 who is new to tournament go (defined by less than two years of tournament play).

John Louis Gregory Groesch

From The Washington Post on 12/26/2002:

On December 24, 2002, an eighth grade student at St. Matthias Catholic School. Beloved son of Greg and Joyce Groesch; brother of Ahren and Bill Groesch; grandson of Wilma Nesslein. He is survived by many other relatives and friends. Mass of Christian Burial was offered on Saturday, December 28, 2002. Family suggests memorial contributions may be made to St. Matthias School.

From The Washington Times, December 26, 2002:

John Louis Groesch, a Christian Youth Organization soccer league all-star goalkeeper, died December 24 of complications from the onset of diabetes at Children's Hospital in the District. He was 14.

John was on the principal's list as an eighth-grader at St. Matthias Catholic School in Lanham, an honor bestowed upon students who earn straight As. He especially liked sciences and math, said his father, Greg Groesch, assistant art director at The Washington Times.

"He was very good at everything that he did," Mr. Groesch said. "And he always challenged himself to do better."

John started playing soccer when he was 6, and he played indoor soccer for a select team this past summer. He was wanted by several select teams and known in the league for his sharp judgment, exceptional skill and keen instinct while in the crease.

He was selected as the best goalie of six Prince George's Christian Youth Organization (CYO) teams, and he started in a Nov. 15 all-star game at the Montgomery County Soccerplex in Germantown against the Montgomery County CYO team.

"He just had this incredible ability to stop shots. He knew when to stand his ground versus when to come out and attack the ball," said Pat Lehnerd, his CYO coach. "I was approached by a couple of coaches who spotted his talent and said to me, 'You are sending him to the all-star game, correct?'"

John lived with his family in Lanham, and he enjoyed spending time with his two older brothers, Ahren, 20, and Bill, 17.

Every [Wednesday] evening, he played a Japanese board game at the University of Maryland at College Park. [Go] is a game based on strategy, and John most often prevailed against his opponents, who included college students and professors.

"We will forever grieve his loss, but at the same time, we will be forever grateful for the 14 wonderful years that he graced our lives," Mr. Groesch said. "Words cannot explain how much he will be missed by everyone whose life was touched by him. He was a special person who was loved and respected by his classmates and everyone who met him."

In addition to his brothers and father, John is survived by his mother, Joyce, and a grandmother, Wilma Nesslein of Purcell, Okla.

A Mass of Christian burial was offered Saturday, and burial will be private.

Memorial contributions may be directed to St. Matthias School, 9475 Annapolis Road, Lanham, Md., 20706.

page by Steve Mount