Geoff was a kind and unassuming gentleman who returned to the parish in his retirement. His neighbour Sheena paid a glowing tribute to him at his funeral on 19 October. She bought the house next door to Geoff (by then a widower) some years ago, and as she moved in after having months of work done on the house, Geoff turned up with a bottle of champagne to welcome her to the neighbourhood. This was when she realised what a caring person he was.
Geoff had cared for his wife Barbara who had been diabetic and needed both legs amputating. He’d organised a lift to take Barbara up from the living room to the bedroom. Geoff also cared for his son Paul, and became involved with Mencap and the National Autistic Society due to the condition Paul was born with.
Sheena said that Geoff was an interesting and intelligent man who often spoke of his time as an engineer in the merchant navy, and whenever anyone went to his house he was proud to show them photos of vessels that he’d sailed on. After he left the merchant navy, he worked for the bomb disposal unit at the Arsenal in Woolwich.
Geoff really enjoyed his jazz music and built up an impressive collection of jazz records, his favourite performer being Louis Armstrong. At the age of 71 he found love again when he met Iris at a jazz club. He felt very happy to be able to spend a good number of years in her company. Together Geoff and Iris became regular attenders at St Stephen’s.
His love of jazz prompted Geoff to learn the clarinet in later life, and he was keen to practise his new-found skill in the church choirs – playing at different times with the 10am choir and the 11.30am one. Since the clarinet is in B-flat – a key different from other instruments in the choir – Geoff, with true dedication, decided to meticulously re-write the entire hymn book (irrespective of whether the hymns were in the choir’s repertoire) so that he could play along. The photo at the top of this tribute was taken at the church carol service in 2005.
Geoff will be remembered fondly by those who knew him – may he rest in peace.