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Family patriarch was a strong-willed vet

“Honest Ed” Geyer knew his time was near.

Yet the old D-Day veteran wasn’t getting out of his favorite reclining chair.

“It was a nasty old thing,” said Polli Stroup, the youngest daughter, voicing her mother and five sisters’ unanimous feelings.

But it was the patriarch’s throne.

“The (hospice) nurse said, ‘Mr. Geyer, you’re going to die in that chair,’ ” said Pat Geyer, his wife for 54 years. “He said, ‘I know. I’m ready. This is where I want to be.’ He was his old self to the end. He did it his way.”

Like there was ever any other with Ed Geyer, who died Saturday. The 89-year-old will be waked today and buried Friday.

Mr. Geyer leaves behind a family that has made Duffy’s Tavern on Holmes Beach a community institution for 40 years.

A family of strong-willed women, that is. “I get it from Dad,” Peggi Davenport said.

“My husband always says, ‘You’re just like your father. It’s your way or no way.’ ” Stroup said.

Not that their mother is exactly a wilting lily.

“At Duffy’s, I’m the boss; at home, Ed was the boss,” Pat Geyer said.

Her husband, who crossed Europe during World War II with the 969th Engineers, ran a tight ship at home when their daughters were young.

“If you left your room messy, he’d empty the drawers in the middle of the room,” Stroup said. “He did it to me a couple of times — and I was his baby girl.”

“Honest Ed” was a character, all right.

Family members don’t know who gave him that moniker, but it derived from the ol’ man’s inclination to speak his mind.

Especially at Duffy’s.

“He’d always said something to stir everybody up, then go home and leave us with the aftermath to straighten out,” Davenport said.

Mr. Geyer’s sharp tongue had a sweet spot, too.

“Dad was quite the flirt, even the last week,” daughter Patti Reid said. “He was calling the nurse ‘hot lips.’ He might not have been able to do anything, but his mind was right there.”

So was his favorite chair.

When Mr. Geyer slipped into a coma Friday afternoon, the family considered lifting him from the chair into a newly installed hospital bed.

“Mom said no, leave him in that chair. It’s what he wanted,” Stroup said. “Even the nurses said he looked so peaceful.”

Visitation is 5 to 7 p.m. at Shannon Funeral Home Westview Chapel, 5610 Manatee Ave. W. Funeral services are 11 a.m. Friday at Shannon with burial at 2:30 p.m. at Sarasota National Cemetery.

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