Al Geesey was born Aug. 25, 1923, in Fairview and died Sunday, April 17, 2016. He was 92 years young.
Al grew up on a beet farm. He left home when he was 16 with a couple of neighbor boys. They stopped in Townsend where Al was able to get work harvesting grain. At 18 he moved to the state of Washington and worked in the apple orchards. In 1943 he told the draft board he was ready to serve his country. November of 1943 he went to basic training Camp Shelby, Mississippi. He shipped out from New York in August of 1944, where he celebrated his 21st birthday in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. It took 11 days to make the crossing to Normandy. During the trip, the boat was zigzagging to elude German submarines. The troops had to stay below but were allowed one hour above deck for exercise. Al was in the 26th Infantry Division. He landed on Normandy beach in France; from there his Division went across France, Germany, Luxembourg, Czechoslovakia and Belgium chasing Germans. Al was in four major battles including the Battle of the Bulge.
Al served a total of 36 years in the military; three years regular Army, three years Air Force Reserve, 30 years in the Montana National Guard. Twenty three of those years he worked as a full time maintenance technician with the Montana National Guard. During his military service he was awarded the bronze star, four battle stars, good conduct medal and presidential citation. He retired at age 60 at the rank of E-8 Master Sergeant.
Al was musically gifted, playing the guitar, piano and harmonica by ear. He loved to sing and play with family and friends. He was an experienced outdoorsman; trail riding with horses, hunting deer, elk and grouse, snowmobiling, camping and hiking the mountains of Montana.
Al was an avid competitive bowler into his mid-80s. He bowled his last 300 game in competition when he was in his 80s.
He is survived by his daughter, Paulette Floyd; son Lynn Geesey; son Steve Schmidt; daughter Robyn Yates; six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Al was preceded in death by his wife Shirley Geesey.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, April 22, at St. Paul Lutheran Church. Burial with Military Honors will be at the Western Montana State Veterans Cemetery at 2 p.m. Sunset Memorial Funeral Home is assisting with arrangements. Memorials in Al’s name may be sent to the St. Labre Indian School, P.O. Box 216, Ashland, MT 59004. Condolences for Al’s family may be left at missoulafuneralhomes.com.