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Francis J. Geels, 86, of Decatur, passed away at 2:25 p.m. on Monday, April 11, 2011, at his residence.
He was born on March 1, 1925, in Adams County to John and Dorothy (Steigmeyer) Geels.
He married Nonna C. Kline on April 30, 1947; she passed away on April 3, 2010.
He is survived by nine sons, Ralph (Vicky) Geels, Kenny (Lynn) Geels, Francis Jr. (Tina) Geels, Larry (Terri) Geels, David (Lori) Geels, Edward Geels, and Jerry (Kristy) Geels, all of Decatur; Leo Geels of Ceylon; and Ronnie Geels of Fort Wayne; eight daughters, Jean (Pete) Swenski, Marilyn Agler, Linda Geels, Alice (Chris) Kernstein, Joyce (Bill) Seip, Anita (Tim) Hirschy, all of Decatur; Ellen (Steve) Musser of Berne; and Janice (Peter) Van den Boom of The Netherlands; one brother, John (Carol) Geels of Decatur; four sisters, Helen Loshe, Esther Mowery, and Alice Kline, all of Decatur, and Marcille (David) Wall of Waynedale; 39 grandchildren; and 47 great-grandchildren.
He was a member of St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in Decatur. He was a member of Moose Lodge 1311 in Decatur and The Northern Indiana Bluegrass Association.
Francis worked as the caretaker for St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery from 1947-1969 and for Decatur Cemetery from 1975-1990. He also owned and operated Decatur Concrete Products and Geels Backhoe.
He was a renowned fiddle player and played with numerous groups including Joe Taylor & The Redbirds, The Geels Family Band, and Fiddler & Sis. He taught the fiddle in the Master Artist Apprenticeship Program. He also made and repaired stringed instruments.
Visitation will be 2-8 p.m. on Thursday, April 14, 2011, at Haggard -Sefton and Hirschy Funeral Home in Decatur, with a reciting of the Holy Rosary at 1:30 p.m. â€¨ A 9:20 a.m. prayer service will be held on Friday, April 15, 2011, at Haggard -Sefton and Hirschy Funeral Home, followed by a 10 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial at St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church.
Burial will take place in St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery, Decatur.
Memorials may be made to the St. Vincent DePaul Society, to St. Joseph Catholic School in Decatur, or to Family Hospice and Palliative Care of Northeast Indiana, at Berne.