Lawrence Jerome “Larry” Geisler, 84, died Monday, September 11, 2017 at Methodist Hospital in Des Moines.
Lawrence Geisler, the son of Edward Geisler Sr. and Agnes Maloy Geisler, was born August 3, 1933. He attended country school for eight years and graduated from Churdan High School. He received degrees from Creighton and Iowa State Universities and taught for 25 years in the Marshalltown school system where he was also the head of the English department for grades 7-12. He was involved in three summer institutes at Harvard University and was on the instructional staff of the institutes two of the three years. He had also taught at Benson High School in Omaha before moving to Marshalltown in 1964. He was one of the people instrumental in reviving the Iowa state spelling contest in 1976. He was a frequent presenter at conventions of both the Iowa and National Council of Teachers of English and was cited twice for distinguished teaching. After taking early retirement, he returned to live at his boyhood home near Churdan in Greene County.
Larry was active in church, community theater and political work in both Marshall and Greene counties. He served six years on the pastoral council of the Sioux City diocese, was a parish council chairman and gave workshops in reading scripture aloud in several churches. He was a Holy Land pilgrim at Easter of 1990 and received a life membership in the Knights of Columbus. He played stage roles in three community theaters: Marshalltown, Greene County Players and the Carroll Community Theater.
He led literary discussions at the Churdan library for ten years and presented numerous programs in storytelling and poetry readings for organizations. A story told on Des Moines WHO radio was a direct cause of a memorial bandstand being built in the city park in Churdan. In 1996, he received the Governor’s volunteerism award for Greene County and was the first recipient of the Greene County Impact Award in 2010, given for extensive volunteer work throughout the county. As a grade school student, he was twice the county oral reading winner and that success continued throughout his life. He was frequently invited to read at weddings, funerals, anniversaries and many other occasions.
Larry was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Edward Geisler, Jr.; two sisters, Lucille Kersey and Hazel Geisler; a brother-in-law, Kenneth Kersey; and three nephews: Daniel and David Geisler and Gary Hatfield. He is survived by nine nieces and nephews: Sandra, Donald and Kathleen Kersey, Sylvene Hatfield, Anne Minnehan and Patrick, John, Jerry and Andy Geisler. He is also survived by a sister-in-law, Mary Geisler and two additional generations of nieces and nephews.
Mass of the Christian Burial was held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, September 16, 2017 at St. Columbkille Church in Churdan with burial in St. Patrick’s Catholic Cemetery, west of Churdan. Musical selections were sung by Greg Carey, Sheilah Pound and the church choir and accompanied by organist, Lois Last. Serving as casket bearers were Greg Geisler, John Geisler Jr., Kirk Geisler, Spencer Geisler, Jerad Mount and Travis Venteicher. Honorary bearers were Roger LaVoie, Wayne Lautner, Dennis Hardy, Connor Juergensen, Cale Juergensen, Dan Borkowski, Justin Stream, Gene Blanshan, John Hunt and Richard McBride. Visitation was held on Friday, Sept. 15 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the church with a Knights of Columbus Rosary at 6:15 p.m. and a prayer service at 6:30 p.m.
Suggestions for memorials are the American Lung Association or the Churdan Public Library. Communications to the family may be sent to either of two nieces, Sandra Kersey at PO Box 213, Churdan, IA 50050 or Sylvene Hatfield at 410 140th Street, Churdan, IA 50050.
Brown Funeral Home in Churdan assisted the family.