Capt. Gary Quay Geist USN (Ret) 83 of Southern Pines passed on Tuesday, December 24, 2019 at the FirstHealth Hospice House in Pinehurst. 

A memorial service will be held 1PM Saturday, January 11th 2020 at the Southern Pines United Methodist Church with the Rev. Tommy Sweely officiating.

Capt. Geist was born July 26, 1936 in Rochester, Pennsylvania to the late Eugene and Olive (Gamble) Geist.  He attended Geneva College before graduated from the US Naval Academy in June, of 1959 with an engineering degree. After serving as Main Propulsion Assistant and Engineering Officer on the USS INGRAHAM from July, 1959 to April, 1962 Capt. Geist attended Submarine School in New London Connecticut and was assigned to the USS CLAMAGORE where he qualified in submarine’s and served as the Communications, Supply,  and Weapons Officer. After completing Polaris Missile training in April, 1965 he reported to the Commissioning Gold Crew, USS LEWIS AND CLARK as the Weapons Officer. In February, 1967 he was assigned to the USS M.G. VALLEJO as Weapon’s Officer.

From March of 1968 to April, of 1970 he served as Assistant for Polaris/Poseidon Readiness, Submarine Warfare Division on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations.

Following duty as Executive Officer, USS CUTLASS from April, 1970 to April, 1972 he was assigned to the Staff Commander Submarine Force, US Atlantic Fleet as Assistant Operations and Senior Watch Officer until April, 1975.

Capt. Geist’s next assignment was as Officer-in-Charge Naval Underwater Systems Center, Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center Detachments at West Palm Beach, Florida and Andros Ranges, Bahamas from May, 1975 until June, 1978. He then served at the Strategic Systems Projects Office, Washington, DC as Assistant Branch Head Plans and Programs until May, 1979

Capt. Geist was the commanding Officer of the USS COMPASS ISLAND until it’s decommissioning in May, 1980. He was next assigned as Executive Officer, USS CANOPUS until July, 1982. Capt. Geist was selected to attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort McNair from September 1982 until August 1983, at the same time he earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the George Washington University in August 1983.

Capt. Geist’s next assignment was as the Head of National Policy and Command Organization Branch, Strategy Plans and Policy Division in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.

Capt. Geist assumed command of the USS SAN JOSE in May 1984. After the completions of his tour on the SAN JOSE in June, 1986 he served till 1989 directing a joint Navy/SD10 Ballistic Missile Defense Phenomenology Test Program (JANUS) designing, integrating, and deploying complex operational data collection payloads launched on Trident C-4 Submarine Ballistic Missiles.

From 1989 to 1998 he was the Dep. Director of Operations in the Washington Division of PRA, and from 1998 to 2003 the Lead Coordinator of the Boeing GMD Integration and Verification.   After retirement to Southern Pines he enjoyed playing golf and volunteering his time.  He was past president of the Moore County Sandhills Chapter Military Officers Association (MOAA).  He also served on the Talamore Home Owners Association and a member of the First Health Foundation. 

He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Brenda Joyce (Styers) Geist.  Two daughters, Stacey Whittington (Leslie) and Darcey Peakall (Myron) of Maine; a son, Curtis Geist (Joey) of Iowa;  two step-sons, James T. Babbitt and Samuel G. Babbitt (DeNae) of Virginia; a sister, Christine Thomson of England; Three granddaughters, Shannon Price (DJ), Chloe Talley (Caleb), and Alejandra Babbitt. Four grandsons, Corey Glick, Graham Geist, Jack Geist and Isaac Babbitt.  Two great-granddaughters, Rhyan and Eden Price.

The family will receive friends at a reception following the memorial service in the church fellowship hall.  A graveside service will be held at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Capt. Geist name to the Blessing Bag Ministry at Southern Pines United Methodist Church, 175 Midland Road, Southern Pines, NC 28387; United States Naval Academy Alumni Association and Foundation Class of 1959, 291 Wood Road, Beach Hall, Annapolis, MD 21402; First Health Hospice and Palliative Care, P.O. Box 5889, Pinehurst, NC 28374-5889; First Health Foundation, 150 Applecross Road, Pinehurst, NC 28374;

Online condolences may be made to

Services entrusted to Boles Funeral Home of Southern Pines.

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