Obituary: Ray Liesegang: Founder Of Century Parking in LA
Trademark humor, straightforward style
Raymond Liesegang, Founder of Century Parking, has passed away at his home in Los Angeles. He was 85.
Ray was born into a large German Catholic family in Jamaica, Queens, NY. He spent his teen years working as a grocery delivery boy, bowling pinsetter, printer’s assistant, and drummer in a jazz trio.
At age 20, he took a job with a local parking company, beginning a career that spanned the next 60 years and took him to London, Puerto Rico, Montreal and California.
In 1968, with his beloved wife Vel at his side, Ray started Century Parking, Inc. in LA, building it into one of the most successful privately held parking companies in the country, employing 1,500 people in 14 states.
Throughout the years, he also was involved with a number of charitable organizations and pursued many interests, including home building and record- and film-producing.
Later, Ray enjoyed his weekly poker games, watching Dodger games and attending his grandchildren’s many activities. He also was devoted to his constant canine companion, Duchess.
He will be remembered for his trademark humor, straightforward style and generosity. As Ray liked to say, “I did it my way and enjoyed every minute of it.” He will be greatly missed by his family and friends.
A private burial service was led by Father Paul Fitzpatrick at Forest Lawn Mortuary. Contributions may be made in Ray’s name to the Pasadena Humane Society or Arcadia Methodist Hospital.
In his own words
Editor’s note: PT interviewed parking legend Ray Liesegang in 2007. Following are a few quotes from him from that interview. JVH
“When I started with Meyers Brothers in New York, it was all about leases. But when I came to Los Angeles, we had to go with management contracts. Earlier, management contracts were unheard of; owners wanted the security of the lease, and solid income.
“Landlords were unsophisticated. When they wised up and realized they could make more with management contracts, the entire face of the parking industry changed overnight.”
“Parking is based on contacts. There was this one account – I got it, lost it, got it back, lost it again, got it back – then they went in-house.”
“I never wanted an account with a “bed” in it. Condos were the worst. Everyone was an owner.”
“Parking back in the day was a true entrepreneurial business. It was the ‘deal,’ not the business. We wanted locations, we wanted to have more than our competitors, we wanted that sign on the street, on a lot of streets.”