By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Legislative leaders and lawmakers are expressing sorrow over the death of a longtime doorman for the state Legislature, who died of coronavirus complications late last week even though he had been vaccinated against the illness.
George Geyer, 81 of Cheyenne, died on Friday, according to his obituary.
Many officials mourned the news of his death this week.
“George was a wonderful man. He always greeted you with a wonderful smile and his good sense of humor,” Rep. Albert Sommers, R-Pinedale, told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday. “We always visited early in the morning. He cared about people. His ‘Roll Call’ yell will forever ring in the halls of the Capitol. I will really miss him.”
Geyer attended and played football for Springdale (Pennsylvania) High School and Grove City College in Pennsylvania, where he graduated in 1964. Geyer was a beloved history teacher and football coach at Burrell (Pennsylvania) High School until his retirement in 1995.
Upon retirement he settled in Livingston, Mont., where he continued to coach football. He also spent time in Cheyenne, where he worked in the Legislature.
“George was always a friendly face,” former Rep. David Miller, R-Riverton, told Cowboy State Daily. “Very helpful and always on task. I have fond memories of George.”
Former Speaker of the House Tom Lubnau, R-Gillette said Geyer was “the kind of guy who made everyone happier just by being in the room.”
“His kind words and smile, even on the most stressful legislative days, made the hard work much easier,” Lubnau said.
Legislators on both sides of the aisle respected Geyer. Former Sweetwater Rep. Stan Blake (D-Green River) said he was fortunate to be able to call Geyer his friend.
“Loved his humor, kind words and just talking with him. Talked about fishing, hunting and the things we thought were funny at the Capitol. Had many a good laugh,” Blake wrote on Facebook.
Geyer’s friendships in the State Capitol extended beyond lawmakers. He was well-known to lobbyists and association directors as well. Many called him a trusted friend.
Longtime lobbyist Jonathan Downing said Geyer’s attitude and demeanor were much appreciated over the last two legislative sessions where declining revenues coupled with the pandemic made for a more challenging atmosphere.
“Whether that be when masks were required, space was limited, and people were trying to figure out how to contact their legislators with a new system. He helped keep it friendly as is the expectation when people visit the Wyoming House,” Downing said.
“On a personal level, like the coach that he was, he could read people well and would encourage you to smile or take a second and catch your breath after climbing the stairs from the basement to the second floor of the Capitol. He will be missed,” he said.
Executive Director of the Wyoming Rural Electric Association Shawn Taylor said he was “stunned, shocked, and saddened” with the news as he and his family spent time with him only weeks beforehand at Cheyenne Frontier Days (CFD).
“George was like a grandpa figure I know not only to my kids but all those kids he worked with in the CFD Youth Program,” Taylor said. “He will be sorely missed by his CFD family. George had the audacious task of dealing and working with teenagers for CFD and then working with legislators and lobbyists during his time as a doorman at the state capital.”
“I was just emailing with some of the board members of the Capitol Club . . . and we all agreed that George was the kindest man no matter who he was dealing with, and that he was the right man to have at the door of the House chambers when the Capitol first opened up after renovations (when things weren’t ideal particularly for us lobbyists) and when it opened up earlier this year after the COVID closure,” he said.
Paul Ulrich, Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs for Jonah Energy and noted Wyoming outdoorsman, echoed others when talking about Geyer’s kindness.
“He had a quiet gift of making everyone in the legislative process feel welcome and valued. The Legislature has lost someone special,” Ulrich said.
In addition to his work with the Legislature, Geyer was active in Cheyenne Frontier Days, volunteering for the Ticket Committee and Parade Committee. He also organized the rodeo’s youth program.
Geyer was an active and avid outdoorsman who loved hiking, fishing, camping, hunting and traveling with Carol, his wife of 57 years.