One of the city's most influential faith leaders has left a hole at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church — and the community at large. Reverend Oren Geiger passed away on Aug. 15 at the age of 94.
“He loved people, the church and his entire community,” said son, Rob Geiger. “They were everything to him.”
Geiger was born on Dec. 6, 1918, in Kankakee County, Ill. He received his calling to serve God in 1945, when he graduated from Springfield Lutheran Seminary. He came to Good Shepherd in 1954, and led the congregation for over three decades.
He was the beloved husband of Lucille Geiger and father to David, Susan, Rick and Rob.
“He was a good friend and colleague,” said GSLC Pastor Ron Youngdale. “He was an active part in our ministry and really took an interest in our congregation. I appreciated the years I spent with him.”
Once retired from the ministry, Geiger kept busy at Good Shepherd and served the community in many ways. He remained active in the church by continuing to preach, teaching Bible classes and serving communion. He was also an influential mentor for the youth in his congregation. In 1998 he was honored as Pastor Emeritus, an award for a pastor who has been actively involved in a congregation.
“Once you’re a minister, you’re always a minister,” added Rob Geiger. “He held those standards even after he retired. He performed weddings for church and preached at the church while the pastors were gone.”
When he wasn’t active in the church, Geiger was involved in many community groups. He served as President of the Turlock Rotary, managed Little League teams, and served for 12 years on the Board of Directors of Emanuel Medical Center.
“The man was phenomenal,” said Youngdale. “He had integrity and was greatly respected. He never got in the way or caused division within our church. He was there to give me advice and share his ideas without overstepping his boundaries. He was a man who lived by his principles and wanted to make a difference in people’s lives his community."
Good Shepherd will remember Geiger for his caring personality and connection he built with people from the community. His family will carry on his principles and keep his spirit alive.
“Dad always taught us to smile and laugh instead of being sad,” said Rob Geiger. “He would always remind us to look at the positive side things and that life is not all that bad. I’ll keep his memory alive by trying to like people as much as he did.”