WILSON—Geoffrey Michael Wilson, 86, passed away peaceful- ly at home from natural causes on July 10, 2017.
He was born to Ann and Harold Wilson in Blackpool, England and grew up in
nearby Lytham/St. Annes. It was on Lytham beach that he developed his life-long love of the sea and his sense of adventure.
Geff joined the British Navy the day after his 18th birthday and spent every moment he could aboard ship. The highlight was getting to shake the hand of then-Princess Elizabeth during her visit to his ship, the HMS Illustrious.
Geff served seven years on active duty and five years in the reserves. When he left the Navy, he decided to do a little sightseeing, so he bicycled throughout most of Europe and all of Scandinavia.
His wanderlust took him to the Arctic, where he worked on the cold-war era DEW line (Defense Early Warning System), to Canada and then to the U.S., where he became a citizen in the 60s. His work in logistics with Lockheed sent him to Iran as a consultant with the U.S. Air Force. He was on the last civilian plane that got out of Iran as the Shah was being top- pled from power. Back in the States, he worked for Motorola and other semi-conductor companies in Phoenix.
Geff loved to sing almost as much as he loved to travel, and he became a barbershopper back in the 60s in New York.
In Arizona, he sang with the 120-member Phabulous Phoenicians chorus, which won the international barbershop cham- pionship three times while he was with them.
In 1999, the entire chorus was invited to do a complete show as special guests at the British Barbershop Associations’ 25th anniversary in Blackpool.
Geff was absolutely thrilled to be able to take 100 friends sight- seeing through his hometown and to his favorite fish and chips shop, where they spontaneously broke into song and thrilled the other diners.
All of his experiences made for lots of good stories, and Geff was the consummate storyteller. He honed this gift through 35 years in Toastmasters International, both in Arizona and Oregon.
He worked his way up the leadership ladder to become District Governor for the state of Arizona, which achieved
Distinguished District honors during his year. What he loved best about the organization (aside from all the chances to talk) were all the friends he made by being a mem- ber in Phoenix and Florence.
Geff also met his future wife, Kathy, at a speech contest. He lost to her at the contest, but they got married anyway.
Geff is survived by his wife Kathy; his two children from his first marriage, Ashley and Vida; and two grandchildren, Emma and Noah.
He will be missed by his American sisters Linda, Donna and Dorene.
At his request, there will be no services.
Later this year, his ashes will be scattered in the Atlantic Ocean and surely he will find his way back to England. Burns’s Riverside Chapel Florence Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.