Funeral services for Kenneth Geeslin, 71, of Athens, are scheduled for 10:00 a.m., Saturday, December 21, 2019 at the First United Methodist Church of Athens with Dan Rogers officiating. Interment will follow in the Athens Cemetery.
Mr. Geeslin passed away December 3, 2019 in Dallas, Texas.
Kenneth Carl Geeslin was born April 1, 1948 in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of Vernon Harold Geeslin and Mary Marguerite (McKinney) Geeslin. As an only child, he grew up in a small town outside of Cincinnati working on his parents’ 300-acre farm. After enlisting in the U.S. Air Force in 1967, Geeslin completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas and radio relay technician training at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. He found himself on a three-year tour in Weymouth, England, as a communications technician relaying radio signals through England, Spain and Turkey back to the United States.
Geeslin transitioned from active duty in 1974 to the D.C. Air National Guard, where he worked full time for five years, which included assignments with D.C. and Texas units. He then transitioned to be a traditional guardsmen and continued with weekend duty for another decade while balancing a successful civilian career.
As an adult who continued serving his country, he was on the ground floor of the transformation of combat communications, when the Air National Guard not only transitioned from equipment used in World War II to modern equipment, but also enlarged its mission scope requiring intense training, which was orchestrated by Geeslin at his Guard unit. Throughout his time in the Guard, Geeslin also took a leadership role in Joint Chief of Staff Operational Readiness Exercises, where units were tested and evaluated on all aspects of communications. Geeslin retired from the Guard in 1989 as a decorated Master Sergeant.
While still in the Air National Guard, Geeslin took his engineering and telecommunications experience into the private sector, signing on with MCI Telecommunications in 1980. His leadership and responsibilities consisted of budgets, engineering, construction, operations and executive-level program management. Geeslin became the driving force behind many industry innovative solutions such as the leadership of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Leased interfacility National Air Space Communications System, the network that supports all U.S. airspace for civil and military air traffic control. His work on this high-profile project earned Geeslin awards from both the FAA and MCI.
Geeslin led the first large-scale deployment of single-mode fiber optic communications cable between Washington, D.C. and New York. His career highlights also include the development of emergency restoration processes for restoring microwave radio towers, followed by the development of fiber optic network disaster recovery initiatives.
After 25 years in the corporate world, Geeslin returned to his small-town roots, moving with his wife, Katherine, to Athens, Henderson County, in 2001. Geeslin’s 22 years of military service and 25 years in the private sector, all focused on improvements that affected our great nation. As he settled into a smaller setting, Geeslin turned his sights to the local community, educating himself by attending Commissioners Court and school district meetings along with other town events. In 2010, he ran for County Commissioner and was recently re-elected to his second term and served as a full-time Henderson County Commissioner, Precinct 4 until December 2019. In his years on Commissioners Court, Geeslin had maintained a focus of “putting procedures in place that streamline county government and, in the long term, save our taxpayers money.”
No doubt his timeline of service has made a difference in his family, especially considering he became a Scout Master where he helped other scouts, including his son, earn the highest honor of Eagle Scout and his daughter followed his footsteps and served in the U.S. Air Force and continues to serve as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air National Guard.
Henderson County Commissioner Ken Geeslin’s timeline is characterized by these types of scenarios, all of which point to a pattern typical of many of our U.S. veterans: service to country followed by service to community. This type of commitment fits right in with one of the Air Force Core Values that a young Ken Geeslin memorized back in the 1960s when he first put on the Air Force uniform: “Excellence In All We Do.”
Kenneth is preceded in death by his parents, Vernon and Mary Geeslin.
Survivors include wife, Katherine Geeslin of Athens; four children, son, John Geeslin and his wife Alisha of Richardson, TX, daughter, Jennifer (Geeslin) Piggott and her husband Russ Piggott of Fresno, CA, Matt Freeman of Los Angeles, CA, and Malia James of Los Angeles, CA; six grandchildren, Ella and Meredith Geeslin, Cora and James Piggott, and Sidney and Sarah Freeman; mother-in-law, Earleen (Kruse) Pine; and cousins, Patricia and John Ramler, Bill and Jamie Whittenberg, Mariann and Doug McLendon and Will and Shannon Traxson.
Serving as pallbearers will be his Henderson County Precinct 4 Crew, Mark Richardson, Dustin Holder, Brad Skiles, Lance Odom, Jeff Graham, Michael McDonald, Brad Splawn, Danny Cummings, Gary Espy, Bobby Glen Splawn.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to a charity of choice.
Visitation will be held Friday, December 20, 2019 from 6-8:00 p.m. at Hannigan Smith Funeral Home.
Funeral arrangements were entrusted to the Hannigan Smith Funeral Home family.