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Joy S. Geiger 11/30/2011

Joy Fern Schmidt Geiger  of New Richmond died at the age of 85 on November 30, 2011, surrounded by her family and loved ones, from complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  Joy was born on October 1, 1926, in Tiffin, Ohio, to Jacob and Lorene (Peshak) Schmidt. The Schmidt family moved to Upper Arlington, a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, where Joy completed her K-12 education. Joy went on to graduate from Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in theater arts, with an emphasis in dance.  Joy started dancing at around age 13, taking lessons throughout her primary education years from the renowned Stella Becker. Joy became an excellent dancer and her skills continued to grow during her years at OSU. She danced with the Louisville (Ky.) Light Opera for several seasons. Joy also studied at The School of American Ballet under several instructors, including George Balanchine.  Joy almost went on the road with the off-Broadway production of “Brigadoon.” She would have accompanied her brother and his wife, who had roles in the original casting. She turned it down, because by this time Joy had met her husband-to-be at a resort in northern Ohio on the shores of Lake Erie, where she worked. Joy also was a member of the Women’s Land Army during World War II, one of many women placed with farms in northern Ohio.  In 1945, Robert Geiger was on leave between theaters of operation when he met Joy.  The war ended and Bob courted Joy. The two were married on August 28, 1948. Joy’s two siblings were married that same summer, creating a stir on the local papers’ society pages.  Joy made her home with Bob in Chicago, Illinois. Joy and Bob had five children while living in and around Chicago, and added one more when Bob’s job brought the family to Massachusetts. The family moved back to Illinois, and then Fox Point, Wisconsin. Moving frequently did not stop Joy from becoming active in her community. She and Bob were particularly involved in every church they belonged to.  Joy’s family moved to New Richmond, Wisconsin, in 1978. Joy joined the Wall Street Homemakers Club, the New Richmond Golf Club with Bob, and the family joined the United Methodist Church. Joy also played bridge and worked for her friend Betty Jensch at New Richmond Florist. Joy made many good friends in the New Richmond community, and she cherished her time with each of them, always looking forward to long chats and lots of laughs.  Joy’s lifelong love of plants grew from time spent with her Pop in their home garden and at the family farm in Bainbridge, Ohio. Joy took flower arranging classes. She educated herself about the plants and trees in her own backyard, and knew how to attract the wild birds to her always-stocked feeders.  Joy loved to travel. She and Bob went to Europe in 1994 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the D-day invasion, visiting some of the sites where Bob had served. In 1999, Joy made a long-anticipated trip to Ludhiana, India, where her father had been one of a group of visiting professors from the United States who helped start an agriculture college there. She went to Europe again in 2000 and on an Alaskan cruise in 2001.  Most of all, Joy loved her family. She treasured the chance to attend and participate in her children’s and grandchildren’s events. She loved family get-togethers and just being with her family. Joy looked forward to the Peshak-Madera family reunions. Joy was able to travel to the 2007 gathering in Des Moines, Iowa, in spite of the toll C.O.P.D. had taken on her health by then.  Joy’s beautiful smile, upbeat personality and happy spirit brought lots of “Joy” to the Bethel Care Center  community in Saint Paul, Minn. The medical staff learned the quirks of Mom’s disease and helped her live — as much as possible — the way she wanted to the last three years of her life. We are especially grateful to the people at Bethel for loving their “Pickle.”  Her parents, her husband, her sister, Birdie Larrick, and other loved ones preceded Joy in death. Joy is survived by her brother, John Schmidt; her children, Dale Geiger, Lorene Geiger, Joy Elizabeth “Betsy” Geiger, Cynthia (Terrence) Gardner, Robert (Natalie) Geiger and Carolyn Anderson (William Kokaisel); her grandchildren, Dana Barnett, Julia (Jason) Fitzpatrick, Aaron Geiger and Lucas Geiger; and many relatives and friends.  A visitation was held on Sunday, December 4, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Bakken-Young Beebe Chapel in New Richmond, Wisconsin. Joy’s funeral service was at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, December 5, at the New Richmond United Methodist Church, followed by a lunch in the fellowship hall. Visitation was one hour prior to the service. Interment will be at the Oakwood Cemetery in Bucyrus, Ohio, at a later date.  Arrangements are with Bakken-Young Funeral & Cremation Services Beebe Chapel of New Richmond.

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