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Redbird legacy: Alumna follows in parents’, brother’s ISU footsteps

Family patriarch Charles Geigner Sr. as Santa Claus

Family patriarch Charles Geigner Sr. loved his role as Santa Claus.

Megan Geigner doesn’t have to look far to see how her family got connected to Illinois State. It began with her parents.

Charles Geigner Sr. and Judy Fletcher got the Redbird legacy ball rolling decades ago. Chuck, from Lombard, met Judy from Wheaton at the College of DuPage. Judy’s plan was to continue her education at Illinois State. She arrived in 1970 and earned a special education degree in 1972. She was among the early residents of Watterson Towers.

“Dad didn’t have a firm plan for after junior college. But he was devoted to Judy, and so decided to attend ISU too,” said daughter Megan ’01, M.S. ’03.

A year after Judy arrived, Chuck followed. The two married a few months after Judy’s graduation. Chuck ’73 went on to earn a master’s in psychology in 1986 and his Ph.D. in educational administration in 2001.

The two started a line from the Geigner home to campus. Megan earned degrees in theatre. Megan’s brother, Charles “Logan” Geigner Jr., attended Illinois State, as did his wife, elementary education graduate Kelly E. (Misch) ’04.

Several family members also made ISU their place of employment. Chuck became an applied computer science instructor. He also ran InfoTech for more than a decade. Megan worked for the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. There she met her husband, Joel, which wrought yet another connection when the two married at Ewing Manor.

Chuck and Judy’s nephew, Chuck T. Geigner ’97, studied industrial technology and stayed to work at Milner Library for several years. His wife, JoAnne, was also an ISU employee.

Judy went into teaching and retired from Bloomington District 87 in 2013. Chuck was well known around Bloomington-Normal for his portrayal of Santa Claus at a number of venues over the years. He dubbed himself “Santa Chuck of Central Illinois.”

Sadly, last August the Geigners lost Chuck to lung cancer. The many shared Illinois State memories have helped sustain the family through the loss.

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