LAKELAND - C. Geoffrey Vining, 64 , November 25, 1949 - December 16, 2013. A life well lived came to a peaceful end on December 16, 2013 in the embrace of his devoted wife, Therese.
Geoff succumbed to complications arising from a motor vehicle/cycling accident on Lake Hollingsworth in March of 2012 that left him a quadriplegic. Although the accident took away his ability to enjoy many of the things he loved, it could not take away his courage and resolve nor his love and devotion for Therese.
A native Floridian, Geoff was born in Deland and grew up in Lakeland graduating from Lakeland High School where he lettered on the varsity football team. He graduated with a degree in accounting from the University of Florida where he was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and received the designation of Certified Public Accountant CPA shortly thereafter. He practiced public accounting with Arthur Young and Company for three years prior to beginning law school at Florida State University College of Law. Upon graduation, he returned to Lakeland to begin the practice of law with Lane Trohn, a prominent area firm. He helped form Jacobs, Valentine, Groseclose and Miller before establishing his own practice as C. Geoffrey Vining, P.A. He steadily built a successful practice in business matters and estate planning, wills and trusts. His clients knew they could expect thoughtful counsel, unwavering honesty and integrity; his loyalty to them was reflected in their loyalty to him. He helped form Munson, Vining and Midyette, P.A. in 2009, where he practiced until his accident. He would mention the loyalty of his longtime trusted legal assistant Aprille Hall.
Geoff truly viewed the practice of law as an honor and privilege bestowed on a few. He was active in Wilson Inns of Court and a frequent contributor to efforts to elevate the integrity and professionalism of the practice of law. He lived those values in his practice and insisted on only the highest ethical standards in all his professional and personal endeavors.
His professional life was grounded in commitment, honor, and integrity, and his personal relationships mirrored those same ideals. He was a caring and non-judgmental friend, quick to offer comfort and help to those who needed it, regardless of how deserving they were, and wise counsel to those facing personal challenges. Dozens of friends and acquaintances have related stories of how Geoff went the extra mile to help them in a time when they needed it, asking nothing in return except that his kindness be passed along to others. His lifelong personal and business friends can attest to his steadfast compassion for others. He was an avid supporter of the Lakeland YMCA, having served as President of the Board and a dedicated contributor to The Florida Baptist Children's Home. He was an active and long standing member of the downtown Kiwanis Club.
His private time was focused on a passion for fitness and the outdoors. An avid cyclist, he also enjoyed hiking, swimming, and diving. His pride was his sport fisherman, "Dos Santiago", a 40ft. Bertram which he maintained meticulously until his accident. He was happiest with a wrench or a scrub brush in his hand fixing something or just preparing the boat for the next adventure.
He is survived by his wife, Therese; sister Lindy Rich Kuykendall and husband James R. Kuykendall, Jr. Bobby ; step-daughter Kristie Morris and husband David Morris; granddaughter Katelynn; Mother-in-law Otilia Gleason; nephew Ryan D. Rich and wife Nicole M. Rich; niece Robin R. Blalock and husband L. Wade Blalock and children Anderson, Cole and Rich.
A commemorative service to celebrate the life of C. Geoffrey Vining will be held on Saturday, December 21, 2013 at All Saints Episcopal Church located at 202 S. Massachusetts Avenue, Lakeland, Florida at 11 00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Good Shepherd Hospice, 105 Arneson Avenue, Auburndale, Florida 33823. Messages to the family will be received at www.lakelandfuneralhome.com.
Published in Ledger from Dec. 19 to Dec. 20, 2013