Joe Geiger was a very loving husband, father, and grandfather. With an easy going personality, he made countless friends over the years, yet his greatest joy in life was his relationship with his family. A lover of the outdoors, Joe treasured time on his tractor, tending to his garden and Sharon’s flower beds, as well as both camping and fishing. His immeasurable kindness, fun loving ways, and wonderful sense of humor will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.
Joe’s story began during a time that was marked by WWII. Families in the United States were experiencing a gas rationing of only three gallons a week and a new breed of movies with war themes were hatching. Bing Crosby’s most popular song of all time, "White Christmas" first appeared in the movie, "Holiday Inn” and the Alaska highway from Alaska through Canada had finished completion. During the years of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harold A. and Treva I. (Ritter) Geiger were pleased to announce the birth of their son, Joe, at Lucky Hospital in Wolf Lake, Indiana, on February 10, 1942. His birth brought much joy and promise in an era of great change.
Growing up on the family farm in rural Noble County, Joe understood the value of a hard day’s work at a very young age. His family harvested onions, potatoes, and mint as well as milked their dairy cows. Joe lived a typical childhood of the times where daily chores were second nature and family mealtimes were a highlight after a long day in the field. As a teen, he played basketball for Wolf Lake High School where he graduated with the Class of 1960. With a strong desire to help others, he volunteered for the local fire department shortly after high school. To earn a wage, he started working to manufacture trailers before securing a position with Dana Weatherhead in Columbia City. With a strong work ethic, the next 30 years would fly by and he retired in 2002.
Not to be forgotten was the meeting of the woman of his dreams, Sharon K. Nace. They shared a first date at the Eagles and roughly a year later, they joined in marriage on September 2, 1966. Merriam Christian Chapel Church made a beautiful setting for their ceremony officiated by Rev. Franklin Orr. Before being married, Joe and friends would make an annual trip to watch the Indianapolis 500 race each Memorial Day weekend, yet Joe’s heart was now content with his lovely bride. He and Sharon held many common interests and were delighted when their son, Jeff arrived! He loved nothing more than being a dad and sharing with Jeff his greatest love of the outdoors. As a family, they spent many years camping and traveling between Minnesota and Wisconsin each summer to fish the freshwater lakes. Even during the cold winter months, Joe treasured his time out on the ice fishing.
Retirement afforded Joe many opportunities to pursue his many special interests. In honoring tradition, he and Sharon put many miles on their fifth wheel, camping over the years. One memorable trip was a time they drove down to Florida to visit with family and followed the beautiful Gulf coastline west to Arkansas. There, Joe enjoyed fishing with his brother-in-law before returning home. Another time they visited family in North Dakota, before heading south to tour South Dakota before returning back home again. There was a never a dull moment with Joe. He loved to tinker with train sets down in his basement over the years. As his illness affected his ability to build some of the sets, he let Sharon do the building, while he did the designing and the overseeing of the project! He never let anything slow him down. As a matter of fact, he rode his tractor and farmed for eight remarkable years after he became an amputee due to his diabetes. With the exception of being a grandpa to his four wonderful grandchildren, nothing brought him greater joy than being out in his garden. He was meticulous about each and every crop and worked to make the flower beds look fabulous year after year. Joe was also a huge NASCAR fan and once waited several hours in line to have his favorite racer, Mark Martin to sign his hat. He was so proud of that hat!
He loved visits from his grandchildren where they would win him over with homemade baked cookies! His affection for Sharon was unquestionable and they lived a very happy life together for over 50 years. As they shared that first date at the Eagles, he continued on being a member to achieve the 50 year member status. Joe leaves behind his beautiful gift of unconditional love to be etched on the hearts of his loved ones forever.
Joe L. Geiger, 75, of Albion, passed away at 7:25 a.m. Tuesday, August 8, 2017, at Miller’s Merry Manor. Survivors include his loving wife of over 50 years, Sharon Geiger; son, Jeff (Melissa) Geiger, of Albion; brother, Ted Geiger, of Albion; and four grandchildren, Drake, Majenica, Dalila, and Jacobie. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Roger Geiger.
Visitation is 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. Friday, August 11, 2017, at DeMoney-Grimes, a Life Story Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City. Funeral services are 1 p.m. Saturday at the funeral home with Pastor Jerry Burghduff and Pastor Lin Wilson officiating. Burial will follow at Thorn Cemetery. Memorial gifts may be given in his memory to the American Heart Association or American Diabetes Association. Visit www.demoneygrimes.com to send family condolences online.