John McIntosh Geil

October 10, 1948July 27, 2011

John McIntosh Geil died on July 27, 2011 surrounded by his friends and family. Born in Orange, Texas to Beatrice Doyle Geil and Arthur Herbert Geil, John spent his childhood living all over the world from Kinston, NC and The Hague, Netherlands to Wilmington, DE, collecting friends wherever he went.

John graduated from Woodberry Forest School in Orange, VA, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Upon graduating from college in 1969, he joined the United States Army Reserves where he was trained as an operating room technician. After completing basic training, John entered the University Of North Carolina School Of Law, earning his Juris Doctor in 1973.

John was a partner in the law firm Poyner, Geraghty, Hartsfield & Townsend in Raleigh, NC. In later years, he went into private practice, served on the North Carolina Charter School board of directors and was trained as a certified mediator. John always left time to focus on the things he loved – saltwater fishing, cooking, crossword puzzles, traveling the world, Carolina basketball and Phillies baseball. He had fun wherever he was.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Beatrice Doyle Geil and Arthur Herbert Geil, his nephew David Arthur Fitchett, and his companion of 12 years, Kathy Arnold Taft.

John is survived by his two beautiful daughters, the loves of his life, Ann Woodward Geil Godwin and Katherine Holland Geil Smyth, son-in-law Garrett Whitcomb Smyth, grandchildren John Matthew Godwin, Jr., Mary Holland Godwin, and Martha Bowles Godwin, sister Stephanie Geil Frederick, niece Caroline Friedell Fitchett, and many friends who loved him dearly. John was joyfully awaiting the arrival of his fourth grandchild, due in December of this year.

He was a member of the American Bar Association, the Carolina Country Club, the Terpsichorean Club, the Sphinx Club, Milburnie Fishing Club, Ducks Unlimited, Zeta Psi Fraternity and Gorgan’s Head Lodge. John opened his home to host the first auction to benefit Interact of Wake County in 1982, and was known to quietly and privately help friends and family in need throughout his life.

Funeral services celebrating his life will be held at White Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, NC on July 30, 2011 at 11:00am. Visitation will follow in the Jane Bell Gathering Space at White Memorial Presbyterian. There will be a private burial service at Oakwood Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Hospice of Wake County, 250 Hospice Circle, Raleigh, NC 27607.

Arrangements by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 Saint Mary's St. Raleigh, NC 27605, (919) 828-4311.



  • Memorial Service Saturday, July 30, 2011


  • Visitation to follow the service.

John McIntosh Geil

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Mopsy Patterson

August 14, 2011

We are shocked and saddened at John's early departure from us. He was a warm, funny, authentic man with a great big brain. He was also a wild and crazy American guy, to quote Steve Martin, and kept us all in stitches. He will be mourned by us. We send you, Annie and Katie and his grandchildren here and to come, our deepest sympathy. I know the kids adored him, as did we all.

With love, Mopsy and David Patterson

August 4, 2011

Sending prayers of comfort to John's family and his many friends. I was blessed to have known him through our mutual friend Schooner and I will cherish those memories. Deb Stewart Scott

Caroline Bell

August 3, 2011

To the Family.
As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends. My sincere condolences.

K. Lewis

August 2, 2011

My sympathies to the family on behalf of Kathy's many friends. K. Lewis

Edna Harvey

August 1, 2011


My thoughts and prayers are with you. There are so many memories...Please remember me to your Caroline.


Edna Harvey

Jan Stewart Atkins

July 30, 2011

John was a friend to so many and his memory will prevail -there is now a big roar of laughter in heaven love to all Jan Stewart Atkins

Jim Bobyn

July 29, 2011

Dear daughters Ann and Katherine, and sister Stephie, extended family and friends:

Please accept my condolences at this difficult time. Your father was one of my best friends in Holland 1960-62, during "the good old days" when we shared some very good times together. He taught me my first 2 chords on his beautiful black electric guitar (for "Tom Dooley"), and introduced me to many friends, taking a young Canuck under his wing to make sure I was comfortable in the American and International society. We played with his Marklin trains, soccer, baseball, a bit of hockey (on the Geil's fish pond), built a fine go-kart, borrowed his parents' cigarettes, spied on Stephie's friends during her slumber parties, and enjoyed an interesting and rich life as teenagers in the simple Holland that was still rebuilding after WW2. When he and I took young ladies to the movies on a double date, I learned (a bit) how to "operate" by watching his smooth, Southern style. A very cool guy. We stayed in touch only for a couple of years after he returned to the USA to attend Woodberry Forest, and I thought of John often during the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Through one of those documented "few degrees of separation" coincidences, his mother mentioned me to a Canadian visitor at a Florida wedding, who knew my uncle in Calgary, and we soon tracked each other down just before our IHS reunion in Golden, CO a few years ago. At that reunion and in Atlanta in 2006 John and I just picked up conversations we had started 40+ years ago, so it was a good friendship in spite of many years without contact. John and I were Skyping a few weeks ago and I was planning to drive down for a visit; unfortunately that won't happen. As his daughters already know, John was a generous gentleman of the old school, a classy guy from a classy family. He loved a good joke and usually had a twinkle in his eye. I and all of us will miss him, and include him in our prayers. John my good buddy since 1960, Rest In Peace and I miss you dearly.
Very sad in Montreal,
Jim Bobyn

July 28, 2011

July 28th

I have had your family in my thoughts and prayers over the past days since I heard about John's stroke. I am so glad that the last visit I had with John I was with Jessica and Paige and we laughed alot and had a fun time. John was a happy spirit and he will be greatly missed by many.

Kay Schoellhorn

Allyson Law-Kissell

July 28, 2011

I went to the International School of The Hague with John in the early 1960s and had the true pleasure of seeing him again at two school reunions many years later. My deepest sympathy for your loss.

July 28, 2011

Annie and Kathy,

My thoughts and prayers are with you in the loss of your dad.

J. Street Brewer, Jr.