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Thomas Geocaris

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Thomas Geocaris Obituary
Thomas Victor Geocaris, MD, F.A.C.S., passed away peacefully on Tuesday, April 10, 2012, at his home in Allouez with his family by his side. Tom courageously lived while battling pancreatic cancer for over a year. Born to parents Theodore and Helen Geocaris, Tom lived his younger years in Chicago and Mount Prospect, Illinois. After completing medical school, he relocated to Green Bay, Wisconsin where he practiced general surgery with compassion and grace for 34 years. Tom had the opportunity to practice for the last ten years with his daughter, Cynthia Geocaris at Surgery Specialists of Green Bay. His wife Patty, and children Mike, Tim, and Kerry all had the pleasure of working with him in the family business.

Based on Tom's athletic physique and determination one may not be surprised to learn that Tom was a 2 time state champion and NCAA medal winner in gymnastics (event: rings). Tom was able to attend college on scholarship due to his earlier successes and excellence in gymnastics, a sport that he and friends originally thought might be fun to "try out."

Tom was an avid sailor for more than half of his life. He belonged to the United States Power Squadron, an organization dedicated to improving maritime safety. He loved to share tours on his boat, the "Ci-Mi-Ti-Ke II" (named after his four children) with any friend or family member that wanted to test the waters of Door County and Michigan. Whether in Wisconsin or halfway around the world, at the helm, Tom would often relax to the sounds of the Kingston Trio or Jimmy Buffett. The peace he enjoyed while sailing was contagious to everyone fortunate enough to have shared a voyage with him.

Tom also loved to be in the water as much as he did on it. He was a master scuba diver having logged over 960 adventures, 50 of which he completed while receiving radiation and chemotherapy. He dove in countless waters throughout the world, from the icy waters of Lake Michigan to the Galapagos Islands. He had a trained eye to catch the intricate details of the wildlife that many would miss, symbolic of the vision he maintained above water. He also made the best of his winter months on these trips as well as "bombing" the ski slopes of Wisconsin, Michigan, Colorado, and the British Columbia, the last of which he enjoyed mere months ago. Tom loved to share these adventures with his family and friends throughout the years. He seemed most pleased to have watched his children and grandchildren follow in his footsteps with these passions.

Despite the time constraints essential to providing care to his patients that he would not compromise, Tom found the time to be ever present in his wife's, children's, and grandchildren's lives. While Patty was there to take care of the many bumps, bruises, and tears of the children's lives, Tom was always there with her when it mattered most, from a family crisis to a holiday to a major life event.

Tom made numerous professional achievements throughout his life. He served on the Bellin Health Board of Directors and was Chairman of the Bellin Health Surgery Department. Tom led in the development of the first robotic surgery program in the Green Bay area and was one of three general surgeons in the country using robotics at the time. Tom was the first surgeon in Green Bay to perform bariatric surgery and the first to do a single site surgery. Those who knew Tom as a professional also knew him "personally" as there was little divide between the two. He was an exemplary teacher, precise and compassionate surgeon, and a perpetual "jokester" with a child-like sense of humor enjoyed by all.

Tom and Patty came to Green Bay with only a hope and a dream of the successes they later achieved. With Patty by his side, he started a successful surgery practice and joyfully raised 4 children who chose to remain in the area to share their families with their parents. Tom enjoyed the blessings shared in his role as husband, father, and "bompa" to his grandchildren. Despite being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Tom chose to live his life to the fullest without letting cancer get in the way of enjoying passions and hobbies and sharing time with those whom he loved most. In the last year alone, he was able to create more everlasting memories with his family than many are fortunate enough to experience in a lifetime.

Tom is survived by his wife, Patricia "Patty", with whom he shared their love in marriage for 47 years; his four children (all residing in Green Bay), Dr. Cynthia Geocaris (Stephen Scripp), Michael Geocaris (Pamela Weiner, friend), Timothy (Nikki) Geocaris, and Kerry Geocaris (Bradford Bordini); 8 grandchildren including Ryan Scripp, Stephen Scripp, Michael Scripp, and Madeline Scripp; Timothy Geocaris, Tommy Geocaris; Elliot Bordini and Teya Bordini. He also is survived by his siblings Jim Geocaris (Woodridge, Illinois) and Christie Karis (Seattle, Washington).

Wake and visitation will be held at Resurrection Church in Allouez at 333 Hilltop Drive on Friday, April 13, 2012, from 2pm to 8pm. There is additional visitation at Resurrection Church scheduled for 8am to 9:30am on April 14, 2012, with funeral services to commence at 10am with Bishop Robert Morneau leading prayer. Burial to be at Allouez Catholic Cemetery. Cotter Funeral Home and Cremation Services is assisting the family. Online condolences may be expressed at www.cotterfuneralhome.com.

In lieu of other expressions, donations can be made out to "The Thomas Geocaris Memorial Fund."

The Geocaris family would like to thank the following people who compassionately provided care and support to Tom and the rest of the family, for which we are eternally grateful: The Bellin Cancer Team, Bellin Hospital Staff, Unity Hospice, Dr. Tahlsidar, Dr. Amy James, Dr. Ian Sproat, and all the volunteers who cared for Tom at home including Nicole Belter, Jenna Fredrick, Roxanne Roellig, Kaylan Baron, Danielle Plennes, Lisa Thelen, Elizabeth Charles, Elyse Brauer, Casey Clardy, Cassie Sagen, Judy Chike, Liz Pronold, Sarah Collins, Kim Zellner, Megan McGinn, and Mary Jo Heise.

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Published in Green Bay Press-Gazette on Apr. 12, 2012
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