father and son: in it together

A 20 year veteran of the Village of Pelham Police Department, Charlie Geitz, Sr. may have influenced his son, Charlie Geist, Jr., to follow in his footsteps and also become a police officer in Pelham. I met them both when Geitz, Sr. was in Wartburg’s rehabilitation center for a short stay. Charlie Jr. lives only a mile away and, along with his wife Sandra, made it over to visit his dad every day. That, in itself, is telling.

Although the two Geitz men did not serve on the force together, they did spend every day together as Geitz, Jr. grew into a young man and then adulthood.

As a police officer patrolling town, Geitz, Sr. would see roofs in need of repair so he decided to start his business as a roofer after learning the trade from a friend. “I was a police officer and they knew me so trust was never an issue. That’s how it all started,” said Geitz, Sr.

As Geitz, Jr. became a teenager, he wanted to earn money. So he went to the employer he knew, his dad, who hired him to help. “My father always worked two jobs. One as a police officer and the other as first a painter than a roofer,” said Geitz, Jr. “I think it’s where I got my work ethic from.”

And that may well be true. When Geitz, Jr. retired after also serving 20 years on the police force, his father suggested he take a federal job so when he retired from that job he would have two pensions. But his son had other ideas. Geitz, Jr. took over the roofing business and like his father did for him, hired his father part time.

However, he wasn’t always so enthusiastic about the business. “He said to me once after finishing a day on a roof, ‘Why couldn’t you be a florist instead of a roofer’,” said Geitz, Sr. “It worked out well for me though because I wanted to work part time and spend more time at our beach house in Long Island.”

So although his son said there were always “ups and downs” and they “butted heads,” they always figured it out. Geitz, Jr. attributes some of that to inheriting some of his father’s traits, such as his sarcasm.

“Now I go to my father for advice. It may be because now I am older…and so is he,” said Geitz, Jr. “And that we no longer work together may help,” he said laughingly.

Charlie, Jr. remembers growing up in Pelham and going fishing for blues on the Long Island Sound with his father on his grandfather’s boat. “And when my father was off on Sundays, he would take my sister and me to Jones Beach or bowling.”

With the waves still calling to him, Charlie, Sr., age 82, and his son spend time at his beach house, along with their families. Geitz, Sr. has two children from his first marriage and two step children and one biological child from his second marriage to his wife, Susie. He also has 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. “He enjoys his family,” said Geitz, Jr.

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