Robert James Geer, 79, of rural Norwalk, died Wednesday morning, April 16, 2008, in Fisher-Titus Medical Center after a brief illness.
He was born April 1, 1929, in Clarksfield, Ohio, second son of the late Frank Price and Roselyn Showalter Geer. He was a 1947 graduate of Norwalk High School where he was a two-year football letter-winner. After high school, he joined the Army and, along with his younger brother, Richard, was selected to join the 1st Airborne Ranger Company in 1949, when the Army decided to reconstitute the Rangers as an elite fighting unit.
He attained the rank of sergeant and served in the Korean War where he was seriously injured in a night-time battle in Feb. 1951. He received a Purple Heart. During the engagement with the Chinese army, his brother was killed. In 1953, he became an apprentice bricklayer and stonemason in Sandusky and graduated as a journeyman in 1957. A union tradesman for 40 years, he served several terms as president of the local unit of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen, and worked as foreman on numerous local construction projects, including Firelands College, Sandusky Mall and public school buildings in the Sandusky, Perkins, Vermilion, Port Clinton and Fremont for Mosser, Cafaro, Feick and other construction companies.
In the 1980s, he served on Norwalk's first "Blue Ribbon Committee" to build a new high school and, in the past decade, ran twice for a seat on the Norwalk School Board. In 2006, he served as a Bronson Township representative on the Northern Ohio Rural Water board. In 2001, he was the 123rd Ranger inducted to the U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame at Fort Benning, Ga., in recognition of his heroic efforts to turn back the advancing Chinese army at Chipyong-ni, Korea, Feb. 14-15, 1951.
He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Arlene M. (Thudium) Geer, whom he married June 10, 1951; a daughter, Kathy (Tom) Root of Norwalk; a son, Brett (Paula) Geer of Tampa, Fla.; seven grandchildren; sisters, Jeannette Kirkpatrick of Olmsted Falls, Ohio, Martha Pylant of Norwalk and Jean Richards of Huron; and cousins, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by brothers, Richard Price Geer in 1951 and J. William Geer in 2006; and sisters, Maxine Bellamy in 2001 and Jane Twaddle in 2006.
Friends may call from 5-8 p.m. Friday in Walker Funeral Home, 98 W. Main St., Norwalk. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at First Presbyterian Church, 21 Firelands Blvd., Norwalk. Burial will be in Arlington National Cemetery.
Memorial gifts may be given to the Wounded Warrior Project, 470 Seventh Ave., Room 410, New York City, NY 10018. Condolences may be made at edwalkerfuneralhome.com.