CARL J. GEELS, passed away Tuesday, December 28, 2004. Born in 1920, in Decatur and he attended Prep Seminary School, in Massilon, Ohio, and then St. Joe College in Rensalaer. Home again at 18, he and his family formed “The Geels Family Band”, until 1942, when he joined the Air Force. Though trained in the Air Force as a mechanic, he was asked to become a part of the Special Services and spent the remainder of the war entertaining the troops, in Italy and Egypt. After the war he and his wife, Betty, moved to Fort Wayne. In 1952, he began his solo career as a piano playing western-style square dance caller, and soon became known as the “Liberace of the barnyard circuit”, in the early years, many dances were held in converted barns. During his career he called dances for seven western-style square dance clubs, plus special events, festivals, and jamborees in every state east of the Mississippi, and for such groups as Manchester College for four years, Park Board for 25 years, and the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts for 25 years.
His lifetime commitment to veterans and seniors saw him volunteer many hours each week to bring music and dance to patients of the Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center for 40 years and residents of various Fort Wayne nursing homes and senior centers. He was a teacher and caller for 66 years, sharing a part of America’s musical history with area school children and others. He published and edited the monthly “Hoosier Square Dancer”, in the early 50’s and was an accredited member of the International Caller lab and served as their Caller Association Liaison Committee Chairman and was Past President of the Indiana Square Dance Caller’s Association.
At his own 80th birthday party, he was the entertainment and he wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. In fact, Carl was the entertainment for hundreds of tri-county wedding and anniversary celebrations. He reluctantly retired, in 2004. He loved what he did and he loved that it brought so many smiles to so many faces, young and old alike. As one of his square dancers once said, ” Carl is not just a square dance caller, he’s an entertainer”.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Betty Geels, in 1983; and his son, Sydney Geels, in 1976.
He is survived by his second wife, Norma Geels; and his children, Shirley Pausig of Hillsboro, Oregon, Sharon Geels of Phoenix, Arizona, Sheila Enyeart of Alpharetta, Georgia, Stanley Geels and Stella Shinn, both of Denver, Colorado, Simeon Geels of South Bend, Salisue Burns of Sarasota, Florida and Scott Geels of Fort Wayne; stepdaughters, Sandra Minich Brockman and Sharon Minich McKnight, both of Fort Wayne; fifteen grandchildren; and five great-great grandchildren.
Mass of Christian Burial was Friday, December 31, at St. Therese Catholic Church, 2304 Lower Huntington Road. Calling was Thursday, December 30, at Klaehn, Fahl & Melton Funeral Homes, Winchester Road Chapel, 6424 Winchester Road, with a Rosary recital. Burial in Catholic Cemetery.
Preferred memorials to St. Therese Catholic Church Building Fund.
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