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Pat Geyer: ‘The soul of the island’

MANATEE — “Miss Duffy” is gone.

Pat Geyer, beloved proprietress of Duffy’s Tavern, a family-run institution for nearly 40 years on Holmes Beach, died Saturday morning at Blake Medical Center.

Mrs. Geyer, who was 79, served two decades on the Holmes Beach City Commission, including four years as mayor.

“She was like the matriarch of the old Anna Maria Island,” said Carol Whitmore, county commissioner and longtime family friend. “The island is devastated.

“The soul of the island is missing now.”

Added daughter Peggi Davenport: “The love people have for my mom is just overwhelming. It gives me a nice warm feeling inside, and it makes it a little easier to deal with because I know so many people cared about her.”

Mrs. Geyer and husband Ed Geyer, who passed away last year, started Duffy’s Tavern, named after a tavern in an old radio show, in 1971, opposite Manatee Beach.

They started from scratch, gradually working daughters Patti, Pam, Peggi, Penni and Polli into the family business that has fed generations of folks from Manatee and beyond.

“I’ve seen kids carried in here in their baskets while their mom and dad are having a burger and a beer now carrying their kids in a basket and they’re having a beer and a burger,” Mrs. Geyer told the Bradenton Herald in 2000.

After 32 years at the old location, their lease ran out in summer 2002. Duffy’s Tavern was reborn that November at its present location, 5808 Marina Drive.

“Mom was loved all over the world,” said daughter Polli Stroup.

“She touched everybody. She would have done anything for anyone. She was just amazing.”

Funeral arrangements are pending.

— Brent Conklin, Herald News Editor, contributed to this report.