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John F. Geile Obituary

I first came into posession of this obituary when my Grandma gave it to my Mom, and my Mom mailed it to me, about 1995 or 1996. I had grabbed the mail from the mailbox as we left for a soccer game in Cape Girardeau. As I was sitting on the bleachers watching my son play, I began to read the obituary. When I read "Kiefner & Geile," I paused realizing I had seen a Kiefner Construction Company vehicle at the soccer games. I turned to my right and asked another mom if she had heard of Kiefner & Geile and to my surprise, she had! She told me they even possessed some artifacts from the old company, including a seal with the name on it. This truly is a testimony to the fact that it is a small world when the ancestors of these two young boys, in 3rd or 4th grade, were playing soccer together on a field, and yet their ancestors many generations before had been in business together, especially with the fact that my branch of the family had moved to St. Louis.

 

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THE TRANSCRIPTION

John F. Geile, 77, Died Suddenly Last Thursday
Searchers Find Body in a Field at Sereno
Native of Silver Lake Who Rose From Village Blacksmith to Successful Banker Drops Dead While Sowing Lespedeza Seed On Farm

Perryville's Largest Funeral Crowd at Services Sunday

John F. Geile, successful banker, road builder, community leader, and prominent church man,, was found dead last Thursday afternoon at his farm on the outskirts of Sereno, five miles north of Perryville, where he had gone that morning to sow a quantity of lespedeza seed.  Over-exertion was given as the cause of death.  He was 77 years old.

Mr. Geile had gone to the farm early that morning, and when he failed to return for lunch, a search was instituted.  A party, led by Placid Geile, son of the missing man, found the body in the field.  A pan of the seed, which evidently had been placed on the ground, carefully indicated death might have occurred after Mr. Geile had sat down to rest upon becoming exhausted.

Funeral Called Largest in History of Assumption Parish

The body rested in state at Young & Sons Chapel until Saturday noon, when it was taken to the family residence on West Grand . . . .(ineligible) . . . ty was represented at the funeral, which was held Sunday afternoon at 1:45 to Church of the Assumption.  The funeral was aid to have been the largest in the history of the parish.

The Rev. Oscar L. Huber was celebrant at the requiem high mass Saturday morning, and the Rev. Otto Meyer conducted the services Saturday.  Burial was made in Mount Hope Cemetery.

Native of Silver Lake Community

A son of Joseph H. and Mary Henneken Geile, John F. Geile was born May 31, 1860, on a farm in the western part of the county.  In 1874, his parents removed to Silver Lake, and engaged in farming and blacksmithing.  At the age of 18, Mr.Geile began learning the blacksmithing trade in his father’s shop, and after completing his apprenticeship worked in shops in St. Louis, Minneapolis, and Gardner, Dakota.  In 1883, he formed a partnership with his brother at Silver Lake and became sole proprietor of the shop in 1885.

He removed to a farm in Bois Brule bottom in 1901, and remained there until elected Sheriff in 1904.  He was re-elected to the office in 1906 and in 1910 was elected County Collector, in which capacity he served until 1918.

Outstanding Service as Secretary of Home Trust Company

His most signal service to the community was in 1930, when he joined the stockholders of the Home Trust Company in a reorganization move through which the closed institution was refinanced and thousands of dollars saved for depositors.

Chosen as secretary of the depository, after it had been closed by order of the State Finance Department, Mr. Geile guided the institution through the uncertainty of the first few years, with the result that confidence was restored and complete success achieved.

Success as Road Builder

As in every other undertaking in which he engaged, Mr. Geile met with success as a highway builder.  Embarking upon his career as a road builder in company with Charles E. Kiefner in 1923, with Edwin Keifner, Mr. Kiefner’s son, first as engineer and in 1925 a member of this Incorporated firm, his work and planning are evident today in practically every highway and farm-to-market road in Perry County.

One of the first contracts obtained by the company, which operated under the firm name of Kiefner & Geile, was for the construction of Highway 25 from Perryville to St. Mary’s and from Perryville to Longtown.  Both of these sections of the highway have since been paved.

The company also built the stretch of highway 25 from Ste. Genevieve to Bloomsdale, and sections of Highway 51 between McBridge and Claryville and Perryville and the Bollinger County line.

Farm-to-market roads constructed by the firm included Perryville Silver Lake, Uniontown-Wittenberg, St. Mary’s –Menfro and, Perryville-Biehle. 

Other roads were built by the company in various parts of the state.

Survived by Widow and 10 Children

Mr. Geile’s first marriage, in February 1886, was to Miss Mary Baudendistel.  To this union, seven children were born, of whom five survive.  They are Edward, Louis, Rose Geile of St. Louis, and Louis and Emmett Geile of McBride.

Following the death of his first wife, Mr. Geile was married on October 3, 1898, to Miss Katie Baudendistel, who with five of the six children born of the marriage, survives.  The surviving children of the second marriage are Miss Julia Geile of St. Louis; Placid, Perryville; Mrs. Caroline Kuhn and Mrs. Gertrude Sanders, St Louis; and Sylvester Geile, Route 4.

He is also survived by a brother, Henry Geile, Santa Gabriel, California; and two sisters, Mrs. Frank Hunhold and Mrs. Henry Doll, both of Silver Lake.  There are 8 grandchildren.

Best Known for “Helping Hand”

A prominent churchman, Mr. Geile was a member of Church of the Assumption Catholic parish and in his quiet way was connected with all of the periodical movements launched for the improvement of both church and school.  He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and the esteem in which he was held by his fellow Knights was shown by the large proportion of the membership attending the funeral.  He was also a member of the Modern Woodmen of America.

Notwithstanding his long career in public life, Mr. Geile probably will be best remembered for services rendered to hundreds of men and women outside the sphere of his official life.  A keen judge of character, he willingly extended a helping hand to those of his fellowmen who were in need of financial aid, and many a man, now well-established in life owes his start to the assistance received from this kind-hearted, generous man, whose own success was attained through the medium of hard work, right thinking, and straight forwardness in his relations, both social and in business way, with everyone with whom he came in contact. 

Quoting a life-long friend, “He was a loyal and consistent member of the Catholic Church.  He was an honest and upright man in all his dealings throughout his life.  He was busy, yes, but always found time to render thanks to his Creator for the many blessings he received.  His life is a shining example for his children to follow.”

 

Notes of interest:

See locations in obituary on the map on the homepage of this site, including Silver Lake, Sereno, Bois Brule Bottoms, Mount Hope Cemetery, Assumption (now Saint Mary's Seminary), and Home Trust Company (now US Bank located at 100 East Ste. Maries Street

, Perryville

)

.

Assumption Catholic Church