Memorial Minute

Pat Falkenhain Geiringer,
1926-2003

“I would like to have known her better.” Variations of this sentiment were heard from many Friends when they learned that Pat Geiringer had died unexpectedly on January 5th. Pat had been in the wings of the meeting; she was a frequent attender rather than a member, and she usually did not linger for social hour. However the conversations we had with her left us feeling touched by her sensitivity, breadth of interests, humor, and desire to put together the puzzle pieces of her life.

Pat was born in Atlanta, Georgia. After graduating from New York University, she had an illustrious life in the theater. She became a permanent member of the distinguished Phoenix Theater in New York City, where she won three Obie awards and The Drama Critics Award.

She met her husband, Robert, also an accomplished actor, while playing with him in an off-Broadway show. Although most of her professional life was centered in the theater, including teaching acting classes, she also worked extensively in television and film. She and Robert often worked together. Devoted to their dual profession, they had no children.

In 1965 Pat and Bob embarked on a lifelong dream, buying a home, a 200-plus-year old farmhouse on 55 acres in Newcastle, Maine, which they painstakingly restored themselves. They found old wood in the attic and used it to make repairs in the house, saving every handmade nail they could find for the floors. They patterned their “new” parlor after a Sturbridge Village room they had fallen in love with. Complete with handpicked furniture of the era, their home and later the gardens were truly a labor of love.

According to one Friend, “Visiting her house in Newcastle was a special pleasure, and she enjoyed having people there. When she discovered that I had an interest in history, she plied me with questions. I realized immediately that she not only knew a great deal about history but was also intensely interested in it. Pat quietly worked hard for the causes in which she believed.” Pat’s work in the community included the Newcastle Historical Society, the Damariscotta Lake Watershed Association, the Bunker Hill Grange, the Bunker Hill Ladies Aid Society, and the Knox-Lincoln Soil Conservation Board. She also belonged to a writing group and a sewing circle and often read to children at the Skidompha Library.

After Bob’s illness and death in 1989, Pat devoted herself to caring for the house, woodland, and her beloved gardens. In her writing group, she chronicled the history of the farm for the benefit of future owners. She was an avid bird watcher and feeder. She also loved watching the wildlife around the farm and studying the skies.

Said a Friend, “Pat kept in touch with her many, many acquaintances through frequent phone calls. She was never too absorbed in what was sometimes her own very considerable pain to listen to someone else, to tell a good story and to laugh. Talking with her was guaranteed to brighten a day. In the unprogrammed worship of Midcoast Friends Meeting, Pat found spiritual sustenance, fellowship, and a community committed to peace and social justice. Over the years I came to know (her) as a very caring, deeply sensitive, generous, talented, and witty person.”

Following her death there was a large memorial service in the Bunker Hill Community Church overlooking Damariscotta Lake, attended by friends from all walks of life and all geographical areas. Later a second service in the manner of Friends took place at Midcoast Meeting. Pat rests in St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Newcastle, beside her beloved husband of 39 years.

Accepted by Midcoast Monthly Meeting on April 16, 2004