With WWI over and the start of the “Roaring 20’s”, Earl and Ella (Mossman) Pettigrew were happy to announce the birth of their seventh child. Shortly after Christmas, they welcomed into the world, Marie E. on December 28, 1922. Growing up on a family farm for her was different from the rest of her siblings as she took on more the household responsibilities as her siblings milked the cows. With the skills she learned early on from her own mother, Marie would become an amazing cook. Her homemade fudge and brownies will be missed almost as much as this great lady will be missed.
Growing up in rural Coesse, Marie attended Hope Lutheran Church, a church that her father help build and her entire family attended. She was one who enjoyed playing basketball and shortly before she entered high school, they did away with girls’ basketball so she would challenge and beat the other boys just for fun. It was during her time at Coesse High School where she fell in love with Charles “Junior” Geiger. On one memorable day, the two were going to a basketball game on the school bus when Junior had a bag of Hersey Kisses. Marie, who loved her chocolate asked for one and a quick witted Junior told her that she could come back to where he was seated and get the real thing. Well as the saying goes, the rest was history and the following year after graduation, the two were married on September 12, 1942 at Grace Lutheran Church.
She and Junior would welcome three wonderful children that she adored and loved, Carol, Betty and John. Often the family would go on Friday nights to the movies together before they had a television. After WWII and with advancements in technology, black and white tv’s were becoming available and popular in the home. The Geiger family was one of the first to purchase one in the area and the family was excited to watch the three channels available together. Other entertainment came with playing euchre at her brother-in-law’s home as she teamed up with his wife to play against the husbands.
As her children were being raised, Marie stayed at home and took care of her family until John was in middle school when she ventured out in the workplace. With the love for children, she started off her position with St. Joseph Hospital in Fort Wayne by filling bottles for the babies. She would work for over 20 years there as a dietary assistant. Following her retirement, she would go on to help her two daughters out with their wallpaper business as they took on large jobs with nursing homes and offices.
With growing up cooking for a family, Marie always had a meal that you looked forward to eating. Even though she would pass on her recipes, you could never duplicate the quality that she made. You knew to get to her house early because if she had made brownies or fudge, they were going to be gone in a short time because they were everyone’s favorite! On one occasion, she helped her daughter with the brownie recipe that was sent on to the 4H. They may have possibly been the worst brownies and were thrown away after someone discovered that Marie passed on the recipe, but “forgot to mention” to add the sugar. Some thought it may have been sabotaged but Marie said it was an honest mistake and has brought laughter over the years.
In 1980 the love of her life would pass away unexpectedly. Marie would learn to do adjust with life without Junior. She would go on to travel with her siblings and took a few cruises and even a trip to Hawaii. She loved going with her family camping and again, would bring her amazing brownies with her. Marie loved her chocolate and said she would only have one piece a day, but her calendar must have had more days in it than the rest of us, because even when gifts of chocolate were given to her from her family at Christmas time, it would soon be gone. Life was not just about sweets though with her as she enjoyed gardening. She liked being outdoors and tending to her flowers and her vegetables. She canned or blanched and froze the items she grew so she and her family could enjoy them year round. When her eye sight was better, Marie also found relaxation in a good book. With a strong faith, Marie attended Anthony Wayne First Church of God in Fort Wayne with her daughter Carol.
On Tuesday afternoon, November 28, 2017, a month before her 95th birthday, she left her human world and joined her husband once again in Heaven. She leaves behind a wonderful, loving and caring family who will all deeply miss her. These survivors include her daughters, Carol Knott, of Fort Wayne and Betty (Jim) Hartley, of Roanoke; sisters-in-law, Garnet Pettigrew, of Columbia City and Charlotte Pettigrew, of Arcola; nine grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-granddaughters. She now has joined her parents, Earl and Ella Pettigrew; husband, Junior Geiger; son, John Geiger; sisters, Virginia Leiz and Mary Jane Phillips; brothers, Phillip, Howard, Carl, Jack and Paul Pettigrew; and her son-in-law, Morton Knott.
Visitation is 1-5 p.m. Sunday, December 3, 2017 at DeMoney-Grimes, a Life Story Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City. Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Monday at the funeral home with Pastor Jerry Blanchard officiating. Burial will follow at South Park (Annex) Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made in her memory to Anthony Wayne First Church of God. Visit www.demoneygrimes.com to send family condolences.