Dave and his daughters

Dave+Geeting+wraps+his+eldest+daughter+Allison+up+in+a+hug.+

Photo courtesy of the Geeting family.

Dave Geeting wraps his eldest daughter Allison up in a hug.

By Charlotte Heinrich, Kirkwood High School

This story is dedicated to the Geeting family.

Dave Geeting had a way with words. When he entered a party, he’d let everyone know he had arrived. He was convinced that his Tame Impala songs were superior to his daughters’ love of Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez. And he could write a hell of a review for The Riverfront Times in his spare time.

Without Dave, no one knew what to say.

“When it happened to me, me and all my friends weren’t even in 8th grade yet,” Allison Geeting, junior and Dave’s eldest daughter, said. “It’s hard for [my friends] because they don’t know what to say.”

“Experiencing such a hard, traumatic event in my life has definitely made me have to grow up a lot quicker than most people especially because now we only have one parent so if my mom’s not around I have to step up and be a co-parent in our house.” 

Allison and her two younger sisters, Caroline, freshman, and Jane, 6th grader at North Kirkwood Middle School (NKMS), lost their dad July 23, 2016. Dave committed suicide after a lifelong struggle with chronic depression.

Photo courtesy of the Geeting family.
Pictured left to right: Allison, Dave and Caroline Geeting.

“We found out after a family friend trip to Lake St. Louis,” Caroline said. “It was shocking. When you’re that young you never picture someone so close to you dying.”

Dave was born and raised in Kirkwood. He traveled from Keysor Elementary to NKMS to KHS, where he wrote for The Call, played on the basketball team and even had a license plate with his nickname, “Geeter.” He then went to the University of Missouri, where he met his future wife, Julie Jones.

“Since he did go to Kirkwood, it’s hard because I know there are teachers who he had and classes that he took that I want to ask him about, but obviously I can’t,” Allison said. “There [have been] a couple [of] times an older substitute teacher who retired will come and they’ll see Geeting and they’ll say ‘Oh, I had some of your relatives.’ They’ll say, ‘Which Geeting are you from, who’s your parent?’ and sometimes they don’t know he passed away.”

“I like watching sports but the thing is I live in a house with three girls now so there’s not much sports watching in our house. I miss watching games with him and knowing more about sports.” 

Allison and Caroline both said they feel like there is a stigma around how Dave died. The sisters agreed they want to talk about him, talk about Caroline’s handshake with him or Allison’s time as his assistant basketball coach. But they said they often feel uncomfortable doing so.

“Sometimes [my peers] start talking about their dads and it’s hard to just sit there and [think], ‘I don’t really have a dad anymore,’’ Caroline said. “I hear [someone say] something like, ‘Oh, I have a test tommorrow, I want to kill myself’ [and] sometimes I wish they’d have some perspective.”

The girls said they think of Dave every day even four years later. But there are three dates that stick out the most for them: March 8, Father’s Day and July 23.

Photo courtesy of the Geeting family.
Dave holds Allison as a baby.

“His birthday, Father’s Day and the anniversary are all really hard days where [his passing] is pretty much the only thing I can think of,” Allison said. “There’s something about Father’s Day that is in some ways harder than the other two days because there are all the posts for the dads. It’s hard because I wish he was still here and seeing everyone else still have their dads.”

As a first-year KHS dance team member, Caroline said how she wishes Dave could watch her JV dance team performances. She said he loved her dance recitals.

“Now whenever we hang out with our family friends, it’s obviously fun but it just feels different. Because he’s not there. With all of the [families], there’s a mom and a dad there for everyone else. It’s always just my mom so it feels very different than it used to be.”

“Sometimes I’m like, ‘Man, I wish my dad was here to see this’ or ‘I can completely understand what he would say in certain situations,” Caroline said. “It’ll make me laugh but then bring me back down to the situation.”

Allison said Caroline and Jane are more vocal about their emotions and talk to Julie more frequently. But, this year, Allison opened up for the first time publicly about her loss in AP Language and Composition’s YES! Essay about family heritage.

“I wrote about how I feel my family is defined by our strength,” Allison said. “My family has gone through a lot, like my Grandma, my dad’s mom. She’s left with only one kid even though she had four. I wrote about how even after losing my dad, I need to stay strong in my family.”

When talking about her dad, Allison’s eyes glimmered and her dimple curled. She said her dad was her best friend and she would not be the person she is today without having him in her life and as her coach.

“He would always encourage me and cheer me on even when I made mistakes,” she said. “Because of that he became such an important figure in my life, not just from being my dad but from being my coach. I never would want to let him down.”

This story was originally published on The Kirkwood Call on March 26, 2020.