Remembering Chessie Bleick

Chessie Bleick with two of her six grandchildren.

Heights resident Francesca Kemp Bleick, known as Chessie, died peacefully on Feb. 18, following a struggle with cancer. She was 73.

Bleick was born in Cleveland on Nov. 23, 1940, and attended Roxboro Elementary School and Laurel School. Following her graduation from Colorado College, she returned to her hometown to work as a librarian for General Electric.

In 1963, she married Edgar Bleick and settled into life on Delaware Drive in Cleveland Heights. She and her husband worked together for many years at K&E, the company they owned that manufactures a specialty chemical used to clean cathedrals and other historic stone buildings.

A longtime civic leader dedicated to the improvement of Cleveland Heights, Bleick was the founder of Friends of Cain Park; one of the founders of The Heights Fund, a pro-integrative housing initiative; and PTA president at Roxboro Elementary and Roxboro Middle schools.

Bleick served as chair of the Junior League of Cleveland's House Operations Committee, and was a dedicated member of the Cleveland Botanical Garden, where she helped with the club’s legendary White Elephant Sale. She volunteered for more than a decade at the Nearly New Shop, which benefited the Cleveland Sight Center.

She was once voted “Kiwanian of the Year” by the Kiwanis Club, and ran for Cleveland Heights City Council in 1995.

Bleick was an ardent supporter of Cleveland Heights ice hockey, having two generations of exceptional Bleick hockey players under her wings. This season, Bleick was the top seller of fundraising wreaths for the Heights hockey team. 

Bleick traveled extensively and managed to visit every place she intended to, with the exception of the Arctic and Antarctic regions. She was a longtime member of the Cleveland Skating Club, where she played bridge and swam daily. An avid needlepointer, she was always secretly working on a canvas for a loved one.

Bleick was a magnificent cook and host; her New Year’s Eve parties were a tradition etched into the lives of many of her friends and family. Her great room, which her son, Carl, built, was the site of countless parties and afternoon visits. She was the glue that held her community together, and she will be greatly missed.

A memorial service will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 1, at Forest Hill Church in Cleveland Heights. In lieu of flowers, her family asks that friends consider a memorial gift to the Forest Hill Church Endowment Fund, 3031 Monticello Blvd., Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118.

Bleick is survived by her husband, Edgar Carl Bleick Jr.; her son, Edgar Carl Bleick III (Mary “Missy” Grace Bleick); her daughter, Francesca “Chesca” Bleick Hadden (Edward “Kenny” Kenneth Hadden IV); grandchildren Emma Grace Bleick, Calvin Jennings Bleick, Evan Mitchell Bleick, Zachary Kemp Bleick, Francesca Alexandra Hadden and Edward “Kent” Kenneth Hadden V; brother-in-law, George Goodwin (sister Molly Bliss Goodwin, deceased); niece, Sally Goodwin Connolly (Sean Connolly); nephew, Richard Goodwin (Molly McGuigan); and brother, Phillip Bliss.

She is predeceased by her mother, Francesca “Chess” Moore Kemp Bliss; her father, Evan Jennings Kemp; her brother, Evan “Van” Jennings Kemp, Jr.; her father, Charles “Bill” William Bliss; and sister, Sarah Bliss.

Chesca Hadden and Halley Moore

Chesca Hadden and Halley Moore are members of Chessie Bleick's family.

Read More on Neighborhoods
Volume 7, Issue 3, Posted 12:43 PM, 02.25.2014