Joe Geist, 90, formerly of South Whitley, passed away peacefully at 6:00 a.m. Saturday, July 2, 2016 at Peabody Retirement Community, North Manchester where he had been a resident with his wife, Thelma Jean, since December 2014.
He was born Feb. 2, 1926 in Fort Wayne, a son of the late Lemon Dale and Ruth (Cupp) Geist. His formative years were spent in Washington Township, Whitley County. He graduated from Washington Center School in 1944.
He was inducted into the U.S. Army during WWII where he served with the 66th Infantry Division in the European Theater. He received both a purple heart and a bronze star.
On Oct. 21, 1944 he married his high school sweetheart, Thelma Jean Ummel in Ozark, Alabama. Following his return from the Army, they made their home in Tunker, Columbia City and finally South Whitley.
Joe was a career long entrepreneur and business owner in the Columbia City area. He owned and operated Sportsman’s Point, Geist Oil Products on south State Road 9 and Geist Outdoor Equipment. He also worked for local automotive retailers, C.W. Schrader & Sons – Chrysler-Plymouth, Buchanan Ford and Trier Lincoln-Mercury.
He was a member of the Eberhard Lutheran Church, a 71 year member of American Legion Post 98, Columbia City and served as a Columbia Township Volunteer Firefighter.
Joe had a life-long love of woodworking and carpentry. He was an avid sportsman enjoying both hunting and fishing. A sports fan, he enjoyed watching and following his favorite teams.
Surviving relatives include his wife of 71 years Thelma; two sons: Kerry (Kaydean) Geist, Columbia City; and Jon (Darragh) Geist, Westminster, S.C.; two daughters: Abbe (Harry) Muta, Winona Lake; and Sara (Kevin) Marjamaa, Roanoke; ten grandchildren; five great grandchildren; and two sisters: Frances Schmidt, West Palm Beach, Fla; and Lois Doxsee, Donna, Texas.
He was preceded in death by an infant daughter.
The funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, July 7 at Smith & Sons Funeral Home, Columbia City. Burial will be in the South Whitley cemetery. Visitation will be 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 6 at the funeral home.
Preferred memorials are to Disabled American Veterans.