Robert W. Geis                     Inducted 2008 - Faculty/Administrator

"Mr. Wonderful" - What WHS graduate of a certain age doesn’t recognize the nom d'guerre of Mr. Robert Geis. While Mr. Geis would not characterize teaching high school as war, trying to teach social studies across the hall from Sam Szor's band practice and the sounds of majorettes honing their timing in the hall was a constant battle. Skirmishes with the administration about being too friendly were also a regular part of life. What was a nice guy who liked people supposed to do?

Many will be surprised to know that Bob Geis is not a Woodward alumnus. He attended St. Catherine's grade school and graduated from Central Catholic High School. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1942-1945, where he acquired the nickname "Bob." Upon his return to Toledo, he enrolled at The University of Toledo, and then transferred to John Carroll University, where he earned his varsity letter in boxing and dual bachelor degrees in Science and Social Sciences. He then returned to UT where he earned his bachelor of education degree, which preceded his lengthy career in education.

When Bob started teaching at WHS he shared a ride to work with three other young male teachers-Richard "Jocko" Gordon, Sylvester "Sonny" Smith, and Jim Wilusz. They all wore topcoats and fedoras. Many were the humorous looks they got arriving in the school parking lot dressed like a quartet of "gangsters/enforcers." During Bob's early years teaching social studies, he also served as a class advisor and advisor to Junior Council on World Affairs.

After eight years of teaching Bob moved up to Assistant Principal in charge of activities. There were plenty of activities in those days. Most teachers were moderators of one club or another. There were dances, plays, musicals, and fund raising for an enrollment that had expanded to three thousand students, with a second session to accommodate everyone. "Mr. Wonderful" was always there-keeping things running smoothly, entertaining and being entertained by the students, faculty, and parents.

In 1966, Bob received what he considered the ultimate honor. Principal Virgil Sloan appointed him Assistant Principal. He kept this job until his retirement in 1980.

In 1994 Bob and a group of other retired WHS teachers decided to form the "Elder Bears." This group, open to WHS retirees, meets several times a year to exchange news and reminisce about Woodward. "Mr. Wonderful's" news often centers around his wife of 56 years, Jean, his seven children (Shelley, Robert, Debra, Thomas, James, William, and Patrick), and especially his thirteen grandchildren (Patrick, Caitlin, Robby, Robert, Emily, Alex, Morgan, Kelly, Jimmy, Jordan, Katie, Jacob, and Matt). He is a regular spectator at their athletic events around town. Winters find him playing cards and board games. Spring, summer, and fall are filled with lawn work, golfing, and swimming. All in all he would agree, it's been a "Mr. Wonderful" life.

©2020 Woodward Alumni Hall of Fame

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