Richard Lansing Geer

September 29, 1933-April 17, 2019

Richard Lansing Geer of Blaine, Washington died April 17, in Whatcom Hospice House. He was born September 29, 1933 in Portland, Oregon to Willard and Mary Geer.

He married Alice Elizabeth Jackson in 1955 (divorced in 1991). They had two daughters, Marilyn and Elizabeth born in 1956 and 1958, respectively.

He attended college at both Willamette University and the University of Southern California graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering, aeronautical sequence and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force. He was a member of the mechanical engineering honorary, Pi Tau Sigma, and the all engineering honorary, Tau Beta Pi. He obtained two masters degrees: one in aeronautical engineering and the other in systems engineering. He was one of a very few experts in moon dust research before the first man on the moon. He performed research in crew high altitude/velocity aircraft escape. For this research he designed a gondola, which it is on display in the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force base. He was often himself a test subject for seat ejection evaluations. He worked on some of the first Air Force man-in-space programs.

One of his most interesting jobs was on a classified defense meteorological satellite program, which greatly improved reconnaissance/surveillance of the Soviet Union and was invaluable during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He was extremely pleased when the program was declassified and he could tell his family what he was working on all that time. The story of this program is now documented in a video, “The Satellite Men.” He continued working on the Burner II program and other military space crafts. He also served on an inspector general team and later as part of the USAF foreign technology division. He retired from the Air Force as a Lt. Colonel and returned to Boeing in 1981, working as principal engineer for design research in the space program. Richard retired in Blaine with his wife Nan Geer (married in 1992).

Richard has been a devoted member of Free Church Unitarian, Blaine. He was a brilliant man of absolute integrity, great generosity and a wicked sense of humor, dearly loved by many.

Richard is survived by his wife, Nan Geer, his brother and sister-in-law Charles and Lynne Geer, his daughter Marilyn Geer Vancil, her husband Travis Vancil, his grandchildren Andi Vancil Carneiro Ribeiro (Hugo), Megan Vancil Worcester (James), and Nan’s children Rob B., Tim (Jean), Moira (Steve), Heather (Travis), and Nan’s grandchildren Pierre, Inès, Zach, Eli and Henry.

A memorial service will be held at the Free Church Unitarian, 1218 Harrison Ave., Blaine on Saturday, April 27, at 1 p.m.

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