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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Ron Geiger, retired Harker's CEO, community leader, dies at 57

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Ronald R. Geiger, 57, of Le Mars, died Saturday, April 28, 2007, at Floyd Valley Hospital in Le Mars.

Ronald Ray Geiger was born Dec. 2, 1949, in Omaha, Neb., the son of Raymond R. and Twyla J. (Olson) Geiger. His early years were spent in Omaha, with the family moving to Millard when he was 13 years old. Following graduation from Millard High School in 1968, Ron traveled west to play football at Kearney State University in Kearney, Neb. After his first year he chose to alter his course, enlisting in the United States Navy. Stationed on the USS Whipple after training, Ron earned the rank of E5 as a machinist mate, receiving an honorable discharge in 1975.

Ron returned to Omaha after his military tour with a clear and firm image of his course in life. He intended to become a CPA and pursue a life of service through corporate business. Relying on the GI Bill, Ron enrolled at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and dove into his studies. One thing was missing: as he traveled the world in the Navy, Ron never forgot about Wendy Wilson, the younger sister of a long-time best friend. With Navy service drawing to a close he sent Wendy numerous letters, telling her eventually "Wendy, I am going to marry you, and I'll stick around until you think it is a good idea too." It didn't take long. Ron and Wendy were married at Hope Presbyterian Church in Omaha on March 20, 1976. Two years later, Ron received a BSBA from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, graduating on the Dean's List as a member of the Honors Accounting Class. CPA certification followed shortly after.

From 1978 to 1981, Ron was employed by a leading CPA firm in Omaha, soon becoming a Senior Auditor, but a simpler life was calling him. Providence stepped in when recruiters representing Harker's contacted UN-Omaha accounting school with this request: "We need a mature accountant with family values for a great company residing in small town in Iowa." Their response? "We have the perfect guy for you, Ron Geiger."

In 1981 the Geigers, now including Matt and Laura, moved to Le Mars where Ron began his career with Harker's Distributing Inc. Hired initially as Controller, Ron quickly climbed the ranks, assuming roles as Treasurer and then Vice President of Finance in 1984. In April of 1990, Ron was appointed President and CEO of Harker's. The family values and the exceptional family spirit of the community existing in both Harker's and Le Mars were heaven-sent for Ron and Wendy.

Throughout Ron's career, he held numerous positions and leadership roles in both industry and community. Ron was an active member of the Presbyterian United Church in Le Mars where he served as an Elder and Sunday School teacher. He served on the boards of the Iowa Taxpayers Association, Iowa Association of Business and Industry, Iowa Legislature Task Force on Taxation, Universal Pensions Inc, Strategic Investors, LLC, and the Capstone Insurance Company.

In Le Mars and Plymouth County, Ron also served on the boards of directors of the Le Mars Lions Club, Life Skills Training Center, Floyd Valley Hospital, Le Mars Development Corporation, First National Bank, Le Mars Chamber of Commerce, Westmar University, and the Plymouth County Conservation Board.

Ron received recurring recognition for his dedication and service throughout his business life, including being named Captain of Industry in Le Mars (1987), Leadership Iowa Award (1988), Des Moines Register Up and Comer (1989), Entrepreneur of the Year in Nebraska and Iowa (1996), Financial Executive of the Year by the Institute of Manufacturing and Accountants (1999), Iowa Leadership Award (2002), the Lions Club Melvin Jones Award (2006), and most recently was named Citizen of the Year by the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce (2006).

Ron is survived by his wife Wendy Geiger of Le Mars; son Matthew Geiger of Omaha; daughter Laura Geiger of Omaha; three grandchildren, Amira, Elijah, and Nevaya Geiger; mother-in-law Bobbie Geiger of Omaha; sister Judy Hartong and her husband Mike of St. Charles, Mo.; sister-in-law Vicki Wilson of Omaha; two brothers-in-law Michael Wilson and wife Trisha of Oceanside, Calif., and Michael Tederman of Omaha; nieces and nephews Kelli Buchanan, Rob Neuhaus, Surya Metzler, Hallie Talley, Priya Hebel, and Samantha Hartong.

Ron was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Rita Tederman, and his father-in-law Bud Wilson.

Funeral services will take place at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Presbyterian United Church of Christ in Le Mars. The Rev. Drew Tomberlin will officiate. Burial will be at 1 p.m. Friday, May 4 at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Omaha, Neb. Visitation will begin at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Mauer-Johnson Funeral Home in Le Mars with the family present from 4 to 7 p.m.

Expressions of sympathy may be directed through www.mauerjohnsonfh.com

This is not the end. We, Ron's family and friends, count it our tremendous privilege to have loved him and to have been loved by him. He will never be forgotten.

© 2016 Le Mars Daily Sentinel