Charlotte Hellman Geyer (Cholly Boy, Gigi, Grammar, Grandmom, Mom, Momma, Nana) passed away on Friday morning, June 25, 2021, in Winter Park, Florida. She was 97 years old.
Charlotte was born on March 14, 1924, in Baltimore, Maryland, to Agnes Gertrude Pilkington (d. 1980), and Frederick William Hellman (d. 1955). She was an adoring elder sister to her brother Kenneth Paul Hellman (d. 2005), best friend to Ellen O’Malley (d. 2005), and a star student at Public School 22 and Southern Junior–Senior High School in Baltimore. On July 15, 1944, Charlotte met David Charles Geyer (d. 1992) at Hunt’s Ocean Pier in Wildwood, New Jersey. They married six months later on January 27, 1945, and during their forty-seven years of marriage they lived throughout the U.S. in cities including Alameda, Brunswick, Chicago, Cleveland, Harrisburg, Indian Head, Memphis, Oahu, and Winter Park.
They had three daughters and one son: Charyl Lynn Tabscott (Charles), Charlotte Susan Pearson (David), Barbara Lee Langer (Frederick), and David Christopher Geyer (Cara); eight grandchildren: Christopher Pearson (Cathy), Christopher Tabscott (Denise), Michelle Tabscott Gray (Shannon), Carol Pearson, Tianna Beard (d. 2015), Stephen Pearson (Mindy), Kristin Langer Bertrand (Christopher), and Kara Langer Gennis (Jamie); and ten great-grandchildren: Daniel, David Charles, Grace Ann, Shawn, Emmachelle, Nathan, Zachary, Sean, Charles Jordan, and Margaret. While still raising her children, Charlotte earned her Bachelor’s (1967) and Master’s (1969) degrees at Rollins College. She was an educator at several central Florida high schools, as well as Rollins College, Harvard University, University of Florida, and University of Central Florida. She served as Coordinator of Secondary Language Arts Curriculum for Seminole County Schools until she retired in 1992.
Charlotte was the secret behind her husband’s career success, advising and encouraging him to pursue an education and career as a financial advisor after he retired from service in the U.S. Navy. Prior to having children, Charlotte had worked as the first female “runner” for a brokerage firm in Baltimore and learned the tricks of the stock market trade. A child of the Great Depression, and later a self-described “day-trader,” Charlotte saved wisely and invested shrewdly throughout her life to ultimately become a philanthropist. She supported her family’s educational and entrepreneurial pursuits, along with her community’s efforts to improve the lives of others. Charlotte was a dedicated patron of the arts (especially ballet and theatre—she saw The Lion King in Baltimore, London, New York, and Orlando x2), donor to her alma mater, and sponsor of Give Kids the World. She was also a lively social personality who enjoyed memberships with the Winter Park Racquet Club, Winter Park Women’s Club, Town Club, and University Club, among others. In the earlier years of their marriage, Charlotte and David helped build Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brunswick, GA, and were longtime members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Orlando, FL, and Redeemer Lutheran Church in Goldenrod, FL. Following David’s death, Charlotte attended St. John Lutheran Church in Winter Park, FL.
A prolific writer, Charlotte co-authored two textbooks, Write to Read, 1974, and Touch to Type, 1980, with Kate Nash (Curriculum Associates). In 1994, her poem “Sun-Shadow Mandala: Together Apart” won a national poetry award and was published in an anthology entitled Across the Universe. She self-published a memoir, Living Proof, 2010; a collection of poems, Lifelines, 2013; and two children’s books, Everett the Evergreen, 2015, and Tina Ballerina, 2021 (illustrations by Sheila Behr, d. 2021). She also wrote installments for The Mayflower’s Compass magazine and was a regular contributor to the weekly COVID-edition of “Weekend Writers” by The Mayflower residents. Her writings were often inspired by her passions for art, education, family, and travel.
A world traveler, Charlotte explored the globe with fellow teachers, students, family, and friends to destinations such as Amsterdam, Athens, Berlin, Brisbane, Cambridge, Jerusalem, Lanzaroti (where she rode a camel), London, Lucerne, Madeira, New Zealand, Paris, Rome, St. Petersburg, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Urbino, Venice, Vienna, and many more. She returned to England at least thirteen times and participated in summer studies at Oxford. A devoted mother and grandmother, she frequently visited her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren in Dallas, Indianapolis, Nashville, and San José. She enjoyed sailing the high seas on vessels including the Queen Mary I, Queen Elizabeth I & II, and the Rotterdam. During the holiday seasons of 2005, 2008, and 2012, she hosted her entire extended family on luxurious, memorable cruises in the Caribbean.
Many a Mayflower resident will tell of Charlotte’s bridge-playing prowess, a game that brought cherished entertainment, company of friends, and joy during her quieter years. She was a whiz at Scrabble and Jeopardy, as well as a dedicated letter-writer with her impeccable, unmistakable penmanship. In addition to faithfully corresponding with her family, she enjoyed connecting with her pen pals and honorary family members Mary Beth Garcia (daughter of Ellen O’Malley) and Craig McGee. She respected public figures including the likes of Jimmy Carter, Queen Elizabeth II, and Fred Rogers, and she loved the music of Judy Garland. Her favorite artist was Louis Comfort Tiffany, preferred cocktail a frozen bellini, and signature outfit a muumuu with pearls. Until her final days, Charlotte ensured that each of her family members knew how dearly they were loved.
A memorial service for Charlotte will take place at St. John’s Lutheran Church (1600 S. Orlando Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789) on Saturday, July 24, 2021, at 10 o’clock AM for family and friends. She will rest next to her husband in Palm Cemetery, Winter Park. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in Charlotte’s memory to Give Kids the World at www.gktw.org or to the donor’s charity of choice.