Under a canopy of redwood trees, sun shining, and with birds on the feeder outside his window, Taz Ciesla passed away peacefully in his sleep, on the morning of January 11, 2020. He was 84.
He was a fixture on the Monterey Peninsula for 35 years, and owner of Casa Ciesla Property Management (“the oldest and best property management specialist on the Monterey Peninsula”).
Ted was an avid rower, cyclist, sailor, naturalist, birder, punner and raconteur. He hosted the annual 21-mile Hopeless Cases Rowing Regatta from Santa Cruz to Monterey, and completed the 35-mile Catalina Island to Marina Del Rey Rowing and Paddling Derby, the longest open ocean rowing race in the world. In 1957, Ted and a buddy cycled over 1,600 miles from Pomona, CA to Vancouver, BC. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, Ted and his wife Fran hosted thousands of touring bicyclists from around the world, and proudly lived a “Big Sur Lifestyle” at their Carmel Highlands home on Yankee Point. Storytelling was an essential component to Ted’s life. Many friends will recall late nights swapping tall tales. Puns were appreciated with loud groans and vigorous one upmanship.
Extremely active in his field, Ted served on numerous boards, including the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM), California & Monterey County Apartment Associations, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing Round Table Steering Committee, and the Mediation Center of Monterey County. He was a teacher, lecturer and consultant in landlord-tenant relationships and property management. He taught at Monterey Peninsula College and Monterey College of Law.
He also gave back to the community, spearheading the creation of CASA of Monterey County (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children). Proud of his Polish heritage, he was founding president of Solidarity with Free Poland and helped resettle Polish refugees during the Solidarność labor movement of the early 1980s. He was active with the Monterey Jazz Festival, Big Sur International Marathon, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey Institute for Research and Astronomy (MIRA), and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
In the early 2000s, Taz renamed himself to better express his personality. After retiring in 2007, he left Carmel and explored North America in his RV, and settled in Cornville, AZ. He returned to California in 2019.
He was born in Pomona, CA, graduated from UCLA in 1957, and served in the Army at Fort Ord from 1957-1959. He and Fran married in 1958, and moved to Carmel in 1972.
He is survived by his four daughters: JC Dill, Santa Clara; Patty Ciesla, Los Gatos; Mary Rysdale, Hemet; Judie Ciesla, San Jose; grandchildren Chris “Zenith Star” Rysdale and Carolyn Rysdale, Aptos; niblings Johnny Ciesla III of Applegate, OR, Louis Leisman and Marie Leisman of Dos Palos. Preceding him in death are his wife Fran (Leisman) Ciesla, and his brother John Jr.
To continue Taz’s legacy, please consider a donation to CASA of Monterey or the California Marine Sanctuary Foundation.