SUMMIT, NJ - Dr. Donald R. Geddis, Summit High School Class of 1950 and the school's Principal for 27 years, passed away April 8 at age 87.
Geddis, a three-sport athlete as a student, served as the high school's top administrator from 1970-1997 and coached two varsity sports. In 2014, he was enshrined in the Summit High School Athletic Hall of Fame as a member of its inaugural class.
According to his family, Geddis was most proud of his years at Summit High School. Having grown up in Summit, he felt that becoming the principal of the high school was the biggest honor ever bestowed on him. Cherishing the role, it was much more than a job to him -- it was a dream come true.
Geddis spent a couple of seasons coaching the women’s softball team, and was so proud of those “girls.” He had played softball himself all his adult life all the way through his sixties until his knees caused him to stop. A pitcher, he rarely missed a game and considered his teammates to be not just peers, but family -- whether they just happened to live or work in Summit, were teachers or coaches at the school, or students that went to Summit High. His career was so extended that he eventually played alongside the kids of those 'peers'.
He was named to the Amateur Softball Association of Union County Hall of Fame in 2015.
Geddis was also very active on the Summit Volunteer First Aid Squad, serving for many years and presiding as President of the Squad for several of those years.
Incredibly proud of his home town and it’s history, Geddis served as a Trustee of the Summit Historical Society and made sure that the Historical Society had every High School yearbook that had ever been published. His mother, Genevieve, was a graduate of the class of 1920.
Not much for having down time, one of Geddis' favorite hobbies -- especially in retirement -- was refurbishing his 1930 Model A Ford. He took what was not much more than a shell of a car and brought it back to its original glory. He and his son Kevin spent many weekends traveling around to car shows, proudly displaying his antique car and earning more than a few awards.
Geddis grew up in a 'car' family, with his father and grandfather owning a livery business in Summit which eventually became 'Geddis Taxi'.A mural depicting the business and several members of his family are in the lobby of the TD Bank in Summit.
He served in the army in the mid 1950s and was in South Carolina for his training.
Geddis is survived by his wife of almost 45 years, Sue (Grander) Geddis, and seven children: Cathleen McDonough and her husband Tom, Erin Cummings and her husband Rich, Deirdre Kennedy, Eileen Dexheimer and her husband Craig, Christopher Geddis and his wife Sherry, Megan Avitto and her husband John, and Kevin Geddis. He has fourteen grandchildren- Rob, Christopher and Anna Dexheimer, Elizabeth, Ted, Claire and Martin Cummings, Jack McDonough, Colleen and Michael Kennedy, Amanda and Jane Geddis, and John and Kevin Avitto. He also has a great granddaughter, Cecelia Dexheimer, and is survived by three nephews, Christopher, Steven and James Geddis and their families. Their father, William Geddis, was his only sibling.