Editor’s Note. This article was originally published in Camp in 2011. We’re posting this again this year to honor the memory of Julie Geis, 15 years after the tragedy of September 11, 2001.
Sept. 11, 2011, marks the 10th anniversary of the tragedy of all those killed at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pa. Our Kansas City LGBT community lost a great citizen named Julie Geis that day. She was a vice president at Aon Consulting who was in New York on business at the Aon offices in the south tower of the World Trade Center.
Only a few months earlier, in May 2001, the Gay Pride organization had honored Geis as one of three recipients of their Spirit of Pride award for her work with the Women With One Voice organization – she was president of the group and a co-founder — and her active leadership in the gay softball league.
At her memorial service at Unity Temple on the Plaza in Kansas City, Mo., her family, business colleagues and a college professor all spoke admiringly about how she lived her life – proudly and openly, facing challenges head-on, almost as if she was daring people to challenge her. Julie’s older sister spoke of her as “the best book I ever read.”
Legacy.com has a page that features the stories of those who died on Sept. 11. The story there about Geis is reprinted from The New York Times. It is headlined “The Great Motivator,” based on her family’s story about how Julie always “had a way of encouraging people to do their best, whether they were in a boardroom or on a softball field.”
Had Julie Geis lived, she would have been 54 this year. I have no doubt she would have continued to play a leading role in Kansas City’s LGBT community. We honor the memory of her life this Sept. 11.