THE Y FOR
We focus our work in three key areas, because nurturing the potential of kids, helping people live healthier, and supporting our neighbors are fundamental to strengthening communities.
Honoring a Beloved Member
Harold O’Brien, known as “Santa Claus” to many members because of his remarkable jolly spirit, left a huge impact on our facility and will forever be remembered. Harold passed away at the age of 71 on January 17, 2011 in San Diego. He is survived by his wife Rita, two daughters Stacey Iannessa (Son-in-Law John) and Erin Garcia (Son-in-Law David) and four grandchildren, Alex and Alyssa Garcia and James and Ziggy Iannessa.
Harold was a member that exemplified the YMCA’s four core values of Caring, Respect, Responsibility and Honesty. He was especially known for his caring heart.Harold's work involved building houses. Not only did Harold help those benefiting from a new home, he helped the people that he worked with. Harold's building team included people from all walks of life, like those recovering from drug addiction.
It didn't matter to Harold what you looked like, or if you were a wall-flower; he loved your heart. Harold's philanthropic lifestyle just goes to show the kind of man that Harold was.
He showed his caring attitude on the Downtown YMCA Basketball court.
Harold had been a member of the Downtown YMCA since 1994 and loved to play and talk basketball. His love for basketball began when his father installed a basketball court at his home when he was just eight years old. Soon after he installed the court, he would play basketball for hours with his sister. At 71 years old, he was known on the court for his 15-foot “bank shot.” If Harold was open that shot was made. All the players would say that Harold was the ultimate team player, always looking to help out his team members, and a joy to have on and off of the court. He wasn’t as concerned about getting the most points, it was about helping his team.
“Harold was well liked and respected by all of the lunch-time basketball group. He showed up every day with a smile on his face and continued to laugh and have fun throughout the game. During breaks, he was quick to share a story or two about life and his family who he loved dearly. He was also a great listener and gave you his undivided attention when you spoke. Harold is one of those guys that you will remember for the rest of your life,” James Peterson on remembering Harold.
Harold always took the time out of his day to say hello and talk with the Downtown Staff. We remember Harold for the smile he always had on his face and his wise words that he shared. You were always laughing and having a good time when talking with Harold.
A memorial service was held for Harold on January 31st here in San Diego where friends and family gathered to remember the extraordinary man that Harold was. His son-in-law remarked that he is “now in the courts of heaven”. We at the Downtown Y will never forget Harold’s warm spirit and loving smile, he will be greatly missed by all.
April 4, 1939-January 17, 2011
You Can Help Your YMCA!The YMCA staff and volunteers are committed to creating and maintaining a place for youth, families and seniors to go to grow strong in spirit, mind and body. We are committed to making sure that every YMCA member has a quality experience at the YMCA. All of our programs are designed to teach and promote the values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.
There are many ways you can help support your YMCA and all gifts truly make an impact.
- Annual Strong Kids Campaign
Your unrestricted donation helps provide programs to those who otherwise couldn't afford to participate. The YMCA needs you to help children grow up happy and healthy, to support families in their efforts to be strong, and to make your neighborhood a safer, healthier, better place to live and work. The Annual Support Campaign is held each year in February, but donations are welcomed throughout the year.
- Heritage Club
The Heritage Club recognizes and honors individuals who include the YMCA in their estate plans. Through their foresight, these dedicated donors assure the YMCA's greatness for tomorrow by establishing their commitment today.
Contact InformationDowntown YMCA
500 W. Broadway Ste. B,
San Diego, CA 92101
(located between Columbia & India street)