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1930 - 2014

Marten Geitz, M.D. (OR ’65)

Marten Geitz, 84, of Odessa, died in his sleep, early Saturday morning, November 29, after suffering for several months from complications arising from a broken hip. “Night is not angry. When she comes, the night opens the sky, and all the stars come out and blink at you,” he had recently translated from a Dutch poem. And so it was: stars were blinking that night at Dad, Marten, Opa; now, he rests in peace.

Marten was not your ordinary American man. A Dutch immigrant, he was born on August 20, 1930 on the Dutch East Isle of Sumatra, Indonesia to Eilert Geitz and Gerda van Eijsselsteijn Geitz. Having grown up in the jungle, he would share stories of such things as monkeys thieving silverware from open windows, and he said that living down the river from a leper colony and seeing missionaries care for them is what inspired him to one day become a doctor. During WWII, he was separated from his parents at the age of 11 and forced to labor and starve in the Japanese concentration camps. Despite this harrowing hardship, he persevered, and was touched by the kindly treatment of a Japanese physician, who administered one of the first doses of penicillin. Highly educated, he also spoke five languages fluently. But, the one he said he liked best was the language of love.

Marten fought and survived. Upon liberation at age 14, he returned to Holland to attend a bridging school, which academically aided young people who had been displaced during the war. In spite of the jokes he played on his teachers, he graduated and went on to complete medical school at the University of Utrecht. He wanted to do big things in medicine and dreamt of the American West; and so, he came and completed his internship in Altoona, PA and his residency in Orthopedic Surgery at the Mayo Clinic. Texas, however, was calling his name, and the Oil Patch out here reminded him of the Sumatran refineries. He especially liked the down to earth, friendly town of Odessa, where he arrived in 1968 and remained till the end.

Marten always strove for excellence in all that he did. As a surgeon, he pioneered several procedures in Odessa, including the first total hip replacement, as well as the first orthoscopic surgery. He even went so far as to code one of the first software applications for a medical practice in the early 80’s. He went out of his way to give personal care to his patients and found great satisfaction in treating his patients for free – or in exchange for an act of genuine gratitude. More than anything, though, he strove to make a difference in people’s lives. Throughout his life in Odessa, he was active at the parishes of St. Mary’s and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s, Temple Baptist Church and lastly, First Presbyterian church, where singing in the Choir brought him much joy.

For leisure, he put his drive and focus into pursuing hobbies that led him to learn new things. Whether hunting or camping or fishing, studying or reading or singing, Marten seized every opportunity to challenge and better himself.

He also deeply loved and cared for his children. He worked very hard for them, made time to play with them and teach them as they grew. He sent all three to college. Later, he committed himself to his grandson Marty in a unique way, still wanting to make that difference in the life of another person. He is survived by his oldest daugher, Aleida Geitz, of Odessa; his second daughter, Wya Graves and her husband, Colonel Greg Graves, of the US Army; and his son, Eilert Daniel Geitz and his wife, Aubrey Geitz, of Ft. Collins, CO. He is also survived by six grandchildren, listed in order of their birth: Clare Geitz; Marten (Marty) Stock Geitz; and Abigail, Sarah Grace, AnnaBeth and Hope Graves.

He wrote this note to his grandson, “Sleep Well. I pray the angels tuck you in and carry you in the air and sing sweet lullabies to you.” Though they grieve his absence, his children rejoice knowing their DMO -Dad, Marten and Opa – has been tucked in to the arms of Jesus and blanketed with the bliss of Heaven.

The family will receive friends from 6:00-8:00 pm, Thursday, December 4 at Sunset Memorial Funeral Home. Holy Mass will be offered by The Reverend Monsignor James Bridges for his repose, Friday, Dec 5 at 10:00 at Sunset Memorial Chapel. Burial will take place immediately following the Mass.Arrangements are under the direction of Sunset Memorial Gardens and Funeral Home. To send family condolences, please sign the guestbook at www.sunsetodessa.com.

Obituary courtesy of OA online.