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Former Cozad Graduate: Frederick H. Geiger, Age 98

(1921-2020)
Wednesday, May 13, 2020
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Frederick H. Geiger

Frederick Herman Geiger, age 98, passed away in Ames, IA, on January 28th, 2020. He was born on the family farm northeast of Eustis on October 14th, 1921, to William August and Louise Pauline (Unkel) Geiger.

His family moved to a farm east of Cozad in 1929. Fred graduated from Cozad High School in 1938 and from the University of Nebraska in 1942. On February 16th, 1947, he married Eileen Bartruff in Eustis. The couple spent nearly seven decades on a farm east of Cozad, where they raised three children.

Fred loved all sports, football in particular, and Husker football most of all. Fred’s love of football started as a player in high school, and built when he served as an usher at Memorial Stadium while attending the University of Nebraska.

Fred is perhaps best known in the community for Geiger’s Pumpkin Patch, which brought him much joy over the years. Thousands of school children came by bus for field trips among the pumpkins, gourds, squash, Indian corn, and strawberry popcorn. The only rule that applied was that the children needed to be able to carry whichever pumpkin they chose. Adults and organizations also came to share in the bounty for which Fred never accepted a penny.

Ice skating was another love of his, and while his children were still living at home, he would build an ice skating rink by the irrigation well. The rink was available to family and community for skating parties.

Fred loved children – not only his own, and nieces and nephews; but especially his grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He could always get a smile out of children, even those he didn’t know.

Fred was active in the community with service on the Dawson County Weed board and numerous church boards through the years. He regularly participated in the local blood drives for five decades. He particularly enjoyed ushering at church during the “Geiger months” of June and December. Many Dawson County college students continue to benefit from the endowment Fred and Eileen established with the University of Nebraska - Lincoln.

Fred loved the Dawson County Fair and the Nebraska State Fair, and frequently exhibited horticulture at the county fair. When he wasn’t exhibiting, he judged horticulture at several surrounding county fairs and assisted with judging at the State Fair. Fred also enjoyed playing cards and carpentry - having built much of the house where the family lived.

In addition to his wife, Eileen, Fred is survived by: son, Dr. Randall (Marlene) Geiger of Ames, IA; daughters, Judi (Jim) Harper of Grand Island and Jane (Michael) Cohen of Morgan Hill, CA; grandchildren, Robin (Scott) Litchfield of Ankeny, IA, David (Anna) Geiger of Raleigh, NC, Jodi Harper of Mission, KS, Jason (Megan) Harper of Tucson, AZ, Jami Harper of Phoenix, AZ, and Kristin (Todd) Geiger-Thorson of Newport Beach, CA; great-grandchildren, Rylee and Garrett Litchfield, and Kira and Elliott Geiger; and sister-in-law, Valerie Geiger, Cozad. He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Carl,

He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Carl, Ralph (Elaine), and Bill; and granddaughter, Jill Harper.

Online condolences may be shared at berrymanfuneralhome.com. Services were held Saturday, February 8th, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. at the Cozad United Methodist Church with Pastor Doug Gahn officiating. Burial followed at the Cozad Cemetery. Visitation was Friday, February 7th, 2020 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. with family present from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Red Carpet Room at the Cozad United Methodist Church. Berryman Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

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