Eleanore L. Geel known for her love of family and poetry

Friday, May 31, 2013 | 4:37 p.m. CDT; updated 4:45 p.m. CDT, Friday, May 31, 2013

COLUMBIA — Eleanore L. Geel had a way of getting information out of people. 

Mrs. Geel wrote poems for her co-workers when they retired from the Columbia Public School District. She’d use her “pump handle,” as her daughter-in-law Martha Geel described, to learn facts about them. 

“If she didn’t know that person very well, she would somehow get the goods on them and write things that people didn’t know about them,” her daughter-in-law said.

Mrs. Geel died on Thursday, May 30, 2013. She was 93.

Mrs. Geel worked for the school district for 31 years as secretary to the director of art, music and food services.

Every morning, Mrs. Geel arrived to her job at 5:30 a.m. to call substitute teachers in to work — before the automated system existed.

“She had a way of putting it so that it was very difficult for a person to say 'no' to her," said her daughter-in-law. "She was very dependable.” 

Mrs. Geel was born Aug. 3, 1919, in Ashtabula, Ohio, to Harry and Harriet (Brink)  Lynch. She married Willis B. Geel on Jan. 10, 1942, in Ashtabula. 

Although she loved her job, family was the most important part of Mrs. Geel’s life. 

She hid a compartment, nicknamed "the secret place," of sweet treats in her refrigerator for her grandchildren to snack on that they didn’t get to eat at home. She also wrote poems for all six of them. 

Her daughter-in-law describes Mrs. Geel as a “very good cook”, who loved to make barbecue ribs and her grandmother’s recipes. She combined her love of friends, family and cooking by attending dinner clubs and making chocolate cake for birthdays. 

“She always hosted big Easter dinners for our family," her daughter-in-law said. "That was a big highlight of all the children’s holidays.” 

After retiring, Mrs. Geel went on cruises to the Caribbean and Hawaii with her husband.

She attended Calvary Episcopal Church since 1952 and was a member of the Eastern Star, Mother’s Forum and the Red Hat Society.

Mrs. Geel is survived by her two sons, Kenneth Geel and his wife, Martha, of Columbia and Richard Geel and his wife, Linda , of Burke, Va.; six grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. 

Her husband, Bill, and daughter, Janet, died earlier.  

Visitation will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. on Saturday at Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W, followed by services at 2 p.m. with burial in Memorial Park Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Meals on Wheels or Calvary Episcopal Church. Online condolences can be posted at 

Supervising editor is Hannah Wiese. 

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