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John Wieck arrived into the world during the Great Depression and passed away of natural causes during the current pandemic. He was delivered by his grandfather, Dr. John Lambert, in Indianapolis, IN. John was raised in Canton Ohio attending McKinley High School, where his father taught Phys Ed. John participated in track and also swam for his beloved mentor, McKinley coach Ted Branin. Ted was no stranger to championship swimming and John was fortunate to be a member of one of McKinley’s many championship swim teams.

John graduated from Kent State University receiving his Bachelor of Science and Master in Education. While attending Kent State he earned 8 varsity letters in track, cross country, and swimming, and served as co-captain and captain of the swim team.

After graduation, he coached the Kent State swim team before beginning his four year service with the U.S. Navy. He served during the Korean War as a director of the aquatic program at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, VA, and during off duty nights coached a YMCA swim team.

Upon his honorable discharge in 1956 he began his coaching career at Fitzgerald High School in Warren, MI. During his tenure he developed outstanding physical education, aquatic and water safety programs. John’s schedule at Fitzgerald was intense and included around the clock coaching of two high school teams as well as teaching the AAU six and seven year olds. In his final year at Fitzgerald, he led his team to a Class A state runner-up finish.

In 1967, John began coaching at Groves High School in Birmingham, MI. During his 16 years coaching the Emerald Tide, he was affectionately nicknamed “Stick” by his many swimmers and students. While at Groves, John was awarded Michigan “State Coach of the Year” and numerous other coach of the year awards. His Groves teams won two Class A State Championships in 1969 and 1975 and four times achieved runner-up. Under his direction, Emerald Tide’s overall dual meet won/loss record was 195/31, with 53 High School All-American and over 100 All-State swimmers.

John kept very busy during his summers as well, working for many years as the Aquatic Director at Birmingham Athletic Club. From 1965 through 1989 John was selected to coach the U.S. Deaf Olympic Swim Team, a position which took him all over the world. He traveled to Germany in 1966 to coach a group of U.S. Olympic swimmers at the Bremen Swim Festival.

In 1984, John was inducted into the Michigan High School Coaches Hall of Fame and then in 1997 into the Amateur Sports Hall of Fame in Canton, OH. Other career accomplishments included various officer roles including past President of the National ISCA, Michigan ISCA, Michigan AAU, and Director for the Michigan Wheelchair games.

When “officially” retired he spent his winters in Destin, FL and his summers in Cheboygan, MI. Residing in both locations he was able to maintain his passion for tennis all year round. He won gold, silver and bronze medals in the Michigan Senior Olympics, qualifying for the National Event. Since early childhood, John’s family spent summers on Mullett Lake in Cheboygan. He loved his time spent there and enjoyed camping, boating, swimming and tennis throughout his many years.

John also had a deep love of music, which encompassed many genres and led him to be an avid follower of The Four Freshmen. He served as Trustee of the FF Society and attended many of the annual conventions. He loved all of the great jazz and standards artists and shared many memories of live performances he attended.

John lived his life to the fullest and had a wonderful sense of humor. He was a humble man, working hard and playing hard, always treating everyone he met with dignity and respect.

John was predeceased by his parents, Harry and Elizabeth Wieck, his sister Betty (Fred) Taylor, his second wife Pat (Lindsay) Wieck, and most recently, his life partner Betty Hirschman.

He is survived by his children; Lynnette, Brian (Brenda), Kevin, and Randall (Celica) Wieck, his grandchildren; Eric (Kyla), Michael, Miranda and Sadie Wieck, nieces Sally Danielle, Sue McCarty, and nephew Fred (Cheryl) Taylor, his first wife Margaret Saxton and a multitude of good friends, colleagues, swimmers and their families.

John’s family would like to extend many thanks for the loving care given to him by the staff of Vista Springs Northview in Grand Rapids, MI.

Memorial and Celebration of Life arrangements will be announced at a later date. To be notified please email:

To send a message of sympathy to the family, sign John’s online guest book, or to share a favorite memory, please visit:

Cremation arrangements were entrusted to Michigan Cremation & Funeral Care, Grand Rapids, MI, exclusive providers of Veterans Funeral Care.


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5 Condolences

  1. Lee W. Keating on April 23, 2020 at 4:59 pm

    Mr. Wieck was my Swim Coach from around the age of 5-years old until I finished my swimming career at MSU. He was the summer swim coach at the Birmingham Athletic Club for over 20-years coaching 7 out of 8 swimmers. The last two times we saw each other was at the Detroit Athletic Club, then Pasquale’s off of Woodward Ave. for his 80th birthday. He also was the Olympic Swim Coach for the deaf Olympian Swimmers.
    John Wieck also taught & was the Swim Coach for Groves HS in Birmingham. Everyone loved him, his ability to motivate, great sense of humor & would allow any swimmer into his practices regardless of where they went to school. He will be missed! The Keating Family

  2. Blase Keating on April 23, 2020 at 5:43 pm

    Mr. Wieck was a legend in the Lee & Margaret Keating family. As my brother, Lee Jr., shared before. Seven out of the eight children had the distinct honor of being taught how to swim by Mr. Wieck at the Birmingham Athletic Club (BAC) in Michigan. Six out of the seven went on to swim in college. His impact on our family to love swimming and swimming for him was obvious. He was the BAC! Everyone one in my family loved Mr. Wieck. He made the workouts hard, but fun. His humor, smile, laugh and golden tan was second to none. Though the six brother in our family went to Brother Rice High School, he would allow us to swim with the Groves High School swim team to get in double workouts. He was always welcoming and encouraging. My father captured hours of film of our BAC summer swim meets. We have so film of Mr. Wieck in his element as a coach. He was born to coach and boy was he known everywhere as the best! My most memorable interaction with Mr. Wieck was back in the early 1980s. I was playing tennis at the University of Maryland and returned to Michigan to practice tennis at the Birmingham Racquet Club (BRC) where my brother ran the Keating Brother’s Tennis Academy. In the lobby of the BRC I ran into Mr. Wieck while standing with my older brother, Tighe. Mr. Wieck, without skipping a beat, looked at me, stretched his arms down by his waist, crossed his left hand over his right hand and just stared at me. My brother said, “Blase, he is imitating how you uses to stand on the pool deck when you were in 8 and Under at the BAC.” I was shock that Mr. Wieck even recognized me after 10 years and remembered how I would stand as a little kid. I loved Mr. Wieck and he will always have a special place in my heart. Love, Blase Keating and the entire Keating Family

  3. Paterese Keating on April 23, 2020 at 6:27 pm

    With GREAT sorrow I heard from my brother, Lee, of Mr. Wieck’s passing. I have so many fond memories of him from my years at the Birmingham Athletic Club (BAC).

    I had the great fortune of having him teach me how to swim! I was 6 yrs. old. I am the eldest of the 8 Keating’s & was the only girl (until I was 18).

    I had to join the swim team at 9, because my 3 younger brothers wanted to be on the team. It was very hard. Mr. Wieck did not treat us as la-di-da club kids! I got poison ivy & had to drop out (I was happy!) to heal, & didn’t have to go back (miraculously).

    But at age 12, I changed my mind. I was now very aware that this was never going to be an easy workout. He was wonderful & made it fun. I ended up “Captain” when I was 16, last year eligible to swim at the club meets.

    Mr. Wieck’s humor:
    When you finished your set, he read off your times. If you were lagging, he would say, “January, February…”

    One time we all jumped his start. He yelled, “Get back, Loretta!” (after the Beatles lyric) which had us all laughing.

    He made you love swimming & we all loved him- his ways, his manner.

    The world lost a fine man.

  4. Brian Keating on April 23, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    It is with great sorrow that the man that impacted so many has passed away. As the previous comments of my siblings have stated Mr. Wieck was like family to all of us and a legend in the swimming world. We were blessed to have him as our first coach. He taught us punctuality, sportsmanship, dedication, loyalty, and pride in the work we accomplished. We looked forward to every coming Summer swim season with Mr. Wieck. He created a team spirit; an environment that made everyone want to swim for him… we loved it!!! I was taught how to swim by Mr. Wieck at the ages of 2-3 yrs old and couldn’t wait to be able to join the team. I swam for him from the ages of 4-17. After his departure from the BAC I continued to work out with him at Grove’s HS where he was the head coach. I went on to swim in college at the University of Southern California. To this day, I swim Masters at Stanford University all because of the joy of the sport. On a side note, one of my USC teammates, Jeff Float from Arden Hills, CA, was deaf and swam under him at the Deaf Olympics. Jeff went onto be NCAA Gold Medalist and an Olympic Gold Medalist 1984 games. I close by sharing you one other story, I taught tennis as a profession for many years. It was Mr. Wieck’s coaching style and the culture that he created and embodied that impacted the way I coached. He left his mark on all of us and the many that knew him loved him. May we all have that positive impact on people as he had on us. Finally, to all the Wieck family, my heart goes out to you during this time but I want you all to know that his spirit lives on in many of us and his ways will never be forgotten. Blessings to all of you, Brian Keating

  5. Mark Keating on April 24, 2020 at 4:17 pm

    I am so sorry to hear that Mr. Weick passed away. My family benefitted so much from him. All 7 of the 8 Keatings ( the last sibling was too young to be coached by him) had such a great experience with his coaching. He is the one that taught me how to swim and then taught me how to endure pain in his “Killer Workouts.” His presence, sense of humor, and demeanor of the pool deck were so inspiring. One of my closest friends (Paul Murphy) and training partner from ages 5-18, used to say how our favorite words were to hear Mr. Weick say, “four more.” We knew that whatever it was that he had us doing, we could make it for four more. I am sure many would remember the early morning 6:30 AM summer swim practices. We would hope that Mr. Weick would oversleep, and then we could walk to get donuts and enjoy the morning off. However, I don’t think it happened but maybe once. He was so disciplined himself as set the tone for us.

    I learned so many things and had so much of my character shaped by Mr. Weick. Because he put so much of the love of the sport into me, I went on to coach swimming for over 40 years now all over the country. His style of coaching has impacted my style. I never heard him raise his voice at anyone. Rather than berate his swimmers, he inspired them. Many coaches today could learn an enormous amount from him. I still think of him when on the deck and think of his sayings. One of the statements I put as a header to my workouts was words that he had as a header on the record board at the BAC: “Don’t Wait Until of The Day of Competition to Begin Preparing For It.” He touched so many lives, I would easily say thousands, especially if you count the numbers of swimmers that I have touched. I am so glad my wife got to meet him, especially after all that I told her of him. My only regret is that I moved away and did not get to keep up with him. I wanted many times to reach out to him and see him again. For those in his family that are left behind, know that John C. Weick impacted his world like no one could ever have done. He made his mark on my life and many others.

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