2011-01-04 01:13:56 UTC
of prominent Philadelphians who died in 2010, and was surprised by a
few passings I hadn't heard of. Here's one of them.
Gary Geers' voice was more familiar than his face - he was the main
announcer on KYW for decades. But he did a lot of onscreen work too,
as this very nice obit points out. He can be seen doing the weather
about two minutes into this 1989 clip:
Posted on Fri, Nov. 12, 2010
Gary Geers, longtime KYW host and announcer, dies at 84
By JOHN F. MORRISON
Philadelphia Daily News
LIVING WITH Gary Geers, there were certain immutable rules. The most
important was you had to tiptoe around the house after 8 p.m. because
that was when Gary went to bed.
After all, he had to be up at 3:30 a.m. to get to the KYW-TV studios,
at 5th and Market streets, by 4:30 a.m. to start his day's work as an
announcer. For 41 years, he followed that routine. He used to say that
if he didn't get that 7 1/2 hours of sleep he wasn't good for
Over his four decades of service to KYW, he hosted a farm show, a
religious program, did the weather, commercials, sign-ons and sign-
offs and other jobs. Geers' dulcet baritone became familiar to
generations of viewers and listeners.
He died Wednesday of cancer. He was 84 and lived in Sun City, near
Tampa, Fla., but had lived through most of his career in Lima,
Gary's "Farm, Home and Garden Show," which ran Monday through Friday
from 5:35 to 5:45 a.m. for 38 years, was surprisingly popular for such
an early-morning broadcast that lasted only 10 minutes. But that
wasn't why Gary got up so early. The shows were taped in advance. He
got up to do the weather and whatever chores he had to deal with until
his shift ended about 3 p.m.
He loved it. That was why, when he retired in December 1994, he did so
reluctantly. When staffers congratulated him on his retirement, he
would respond, "Thanks - I guess."
He started at Channel 3 in 1953 doing live booth announcing and
commercials. In the '70s, he wrote and hosted two half-hour programs,
an animal-themed show called "Wildsville," and the religious-themed
"Connections." He also taught communications at Temple University.
Things started to go downhill for Gary in 1990, when the station
canceled the farm show and "Connections."
That left him in the role of staff announcer, a kind of utility man.
He was able to tape all his announcements for the day in an hour.
Gary was born in Bridgeton, N.J., to Christine and Nicholas Geers,
Dutch immigrants. He graduated from Upper Merion High School in 1944.
He enlisted in the Marine Corps and served in China, driving heavy
trucks, cooking, and doing other chores in a support outfit.
After leaving the service, he enrolled at Northwestern University and
graduated in 1951.
His father had been a nurseryman and groundskeeper for an estate in
Gladwyne, and Gary interviewed him occasionally for the farm show.
He started his broadcasting career in 1951 with WCAU-TV. He moved to
WFIL (later WPVI), and for a few months was a disc jockey for a show
later taken over by Dick Clark.
In 1953, he moved to WPTZ-TV, which evolved into KYW.
His daughter, Laurie Geers, remembers visiting him at the station when
she was a child.
"He was in a booth with a gigantic clock and a stack of papers," she
recalls. "One time, my brother punched me in the stomach and I yelled.
I was upset because I thought they would fire my Dad, but he thought
it was funny."
That was one of Gary Geers' main characteristics. He was always laid-
back, never rattled or upset. After retiring, he and his wife, the
former Roseann DeJohn, moved to Florida and enjoyed traveling and
tennis. He became active with the Sun City Center United Methodist
Church, Habitat for Humanity, and the American Cancer Society.
Besides his wife and daughter, he is survived by two sons, Gary Jr.
and David; a brother, Nicholas Geers; a sister, Margaret Speacht; his
former wife, Ann T. Geers, and two grandchildren.
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