There were two driving forces in the life of Gary Geidel — his love for his wife and family and his dedication to the New York City Fire Department.
In November of 1989, he celebrated both when he posed for wedding pictures with his new bride, the former Mathilda Welsh, in front of Rescue Co. 5’s rig in Concord, where he worked at the time.
Two weeks shy of his 20-year mark as a firefighter, the 44-year-old lifelong Tottenville resident looked forward to retiring and spending more time with his family at a new home in Greenville, N.Y.
In an effort to build up his overtime to provide for a more comfortable retirement, Mr. Geidel put in for as many hours as could at Rescue Co. 1 in Midtown Manhattan, including the day tour on Sept. 11.
Mr. Geidel, as well as 10 other firefighters from his company, perished in the attacks.
Mr. Geidel along, with his brothers, Ralph and Michael, became firefighters following in the footsteps of their retired Fire Lieutenant father, Paul Geidel of Rescue Co. 1. Both Mr. Geidel and Michael continued the family lineage at the elder man’s rescue company — the first rescue company established in the United States in 1915.
Upon graduating from Tottenville High School, Mr. Geidel joined the Marines. He then worked as a welder for Perth Amboy Drydock, a New Jersey shipyard while waiting to be called by the Fire Department.
After being appointed in 1981 he worked at Ladder Co. 11 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan for seven years before joining Rescue Co. 5 in Concord. He was with Rescue Co. 1 since 1990.
For the last 20 years, Mr. Geidel was a member of the Tottenville Lizards, a neighborhood softball and football team that used the field at Totten Intermediate School.
As a young man he earned the rank of Eagle Scout with Boy Scout Troop 21.
In his leisure time Mr. Geidel enjoyed doing carpentry and making craft projects such as a marionette for his daughter, toy boxes for his nephews, Michael and James Welsh, and a Welsh love spoon that he whittled from a block of wood as a present to his wife.
Borrowing on skills learned from fixing parachutes in the Marines, Mr. Geidel was able to finish sewing a traditional Gaelic dress that was unsuccessfully attempted by his wife as a St. Patrick’s Day outfit for their daughter.