John DeSiato, third row, second from left, guided the Hinkley baseball team to the Class AAA state championship in 1979. DeSiato, a fixture at Hinkley for nearly five decades, died on Dec. 12, 2019, at the age of 81. (File photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

The Aurora Public Schools athletic community is grieving after the recent death of one of its longtime staples, John DeSiato.

DeSiato, who filled the hallways and athletic fields at Hinkley High School for nearly five decades, died on Dec. 12 at the age of 81. His services are scheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21, at the Mt. Carmel Catholic Church at 3549 Navajo St. in Denver, with a reception to follow.

Though he lived in Wheat Ridge, DeSiato had been an Aurora prep athletic fixture for nearly five decades in a variety of capacities.

DeSiato started out at Hinkley in 1969 as an assistant baseball coach under Terry Schiessler, who he knew from their time together playing at the University of Denver. DeSiato took over in the early ’70s and guided the team to Centennial League titles in 1972, 1973 (when the Thunderbirds lost in the semifinals, but won third place) and 1975.

In 1979, DeSiato led a Hinkley team that included ace pitcher Brian Fisher — who went on to a 14-year career in Major League Baseball — to the school’s one and only baseball state championship. DeSiato (who also was an assistant baseball coach at Wheat Ridge High School for a time), Schiessler and Charlie Morrison all represent Hinkley in the Colorado Dugout Club Hall of Fame.

DeSiato also served as athletic director at Hinkley for a time and was a longtime stadium manager at Aurora Public Schools Stadium on the Hinkley campus, setting up equipment for contests in a variety of sports as well as track meets. He worked under APS district athletic directors Jack Lynch, Tony Antolini, Mike Krueger and Casey Powell.

He is survived by his wife, Rosanne; children Jami Partrick (David), Julanne Petersen (Curtis), & John V. DeSiato (Christy); Grandchildren, Kyle (Heather), Matthew, Jessica (Noah), Anthony, Michael, Bella, Dominic; & Great-Grandchildren Ethan, Reyelee, Jaron, & Randy (full obituary via Horan & McConaty, here).

— Courtney Oakes, Sports Editor