S/SGT Daniel Raymond Geis
15th Field Artillery, Observation Battalion, Battery B
Died December 24, 1943
-- Judy Geis Hoffman --
Danny Geis was an eagle scout and loved the outdoors. Near his house in Ardsley, New York was a hill on top of which, as a boy,
he used to pitch his tent and "camp out." Now, there is a cemetery on that same hill and he is buried there. Danny died in Picilli,
Italy, two months before I was born. He was test driving a command car, a top heavy, large-jeep like vehicle, when the ground below
the car gave way into an abandoned well.
Danny was born in the Bronx, New York, on April 18, 1919, but raised in Ardsley, the first child of William Geis and Louise Sauer
Geis. He enjoyed hunting and fishing with his Dad and was involved in high school activities including the Outdoor Club, drama, as well as
Varsity baseball and basketball. From the time he was small, Danny loved cars. His father, a WWI Field Artillery veteran, owned a garage and
Danny grew up helping out in the garage and learning mechanics. After graduation, he worked in his Dad's garage and was drafted in 1940. His
sister, my Aunt Emma, tells me that Danny and his father planned to open a car dealership when he returned from the war. My mother told me
that Danny always wanted to drive racing cars. Perhaps both are true; what better way to sell cars than to be a famous racer? While home on
leave on May 2, 1942, Danny married Alberta Maurer from the neighboring town of Hastings on Hudson, New York. Among other places, Danny
and Alberta lived in Watertown, N.Y. where his unit trained before it was deployed to the European theater.
The army, noting his mechanical aptitude, put him in charge of the motor pool for the Observation Battalion's Battery B. This unit was
formed to measure light and sound from enemy guns and, using that information, to calculate the position of the enemy in order to plan
attacks. They were involved in the North African and Tunisian campaigns and then moved into southern Italy and up the western coastline.
I am most grateful to my Aunt Emma, one of the greatest generation's members, who provided me with information and stories about my Dad
and the Geis family as well as the original letters from Danny which he had written to his family from the war zone.
Since this is a father tribute, I want to include the father who raised me, PFC Lawrence A. Hickey, who landed at Utah Beach a few days
after D-Day and survived the Battle of the Bulge. My mother was movie star beautiful in those days. One of her many boy friends, Larry,
worked at the factory where she was a secretary and was part of a large of group of friends which included Mom and both men. Larry sent
her notes, flowers and candy through the inter office mail. He loved Alberta with his whole heart and soul. However, she married Danny
and Larry then joined the army. Larry continued to write to my grandmother throughout the war and Grandma informed him when his friend
Danny died. After that, Larry wrote notes to my mother, also mentioning me, and promising to come home and take care of us. He did just that.
This man, whom I always called "Dad," married my mother when I was 3. He took me for rides in the snow on my sled, taught me to throw a
baseball, was my one man cheering section always, and walked me down the aisle. I am grateful to this incredible man who was able to love
and raise another man's child with a generosity of spirit which awes me more as I age and realize what he did. I thank both my Dads for
helping to form the person I am today and remember both with great love.