Candidate for Utah Federal Senator
Autobiography of Daniel Geery
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I was born August 8, 1947, in upstate New York. My newly-married father was finishing college as an electrical engineer, after earning a Purple Heart in World War II (where he was shot twice and saw childhood buddies literally blown away). In 1949, our then small family moved to Syosset (an Indian name for “the sound of the wind in the pines”), Long Island, about thirty miles from New York City.
I attended St. Dominic, a Catholic school, in Oyster Bay, N.Y., for twelve years, where strict behavior, dress, and study codes were enforced. Looking back, I believe the fundamental, humanistic, positive ideals advocated there were deeply imprinted, yet I grew past the need for the formalities and rituals, and find more solace, peace, and wonder in Nature than in man-made buildings. During my early days and college years, I worked as caddy, bus driver, ice skate guard, ski instructor, lifeguard, and swimming instructor.
Also during that time, I was an altar boy, became an Eagle Scout, and remained an avid lover of the outdoors. The latter ultimately helped bring me to Utah, early 1974, one year after a week long ski trip. Somewhere in there, our little family expanded to a total of seven siblings, five boys and two girls. My Dad turned 90 in May this year, got remarried about a week thereafter, and is in relatively excellent health, walking a mile several times a week, and working out on his rowing machine. Mom died in a dramatic car crash at age 78, on a windy New England road. Some of my most memorable and formative summers were spent growing up on Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire, where my father bought a small cottage in 1959, which is still in use today.
I attended Norwich University, a military college in southern Vermont, during my freshman and half of my sophomore year, somehow ending up as valedictorian (near as I can tell, I was an overachiever and, ironically, deathly afraid of failing out of college!). I continued on to a Bachelors’ Degree in Biology, Adelphi University, Garden City, N.Y.; I ended my formal education with a Masters in Education and Reading (a new program then, offering a dual degree), though I have taken many classes since, in subjects as diverse as American History, the history of photography, and the internet (in the days of its infancy), along with a week-long Audubon Nature Class, in Wyoming.
I taught elementary school for a total of twenty years, in New York, Utah, and Idaho. I taught at the Utah Museum of Natural History, specializing in archeology, biology, and geology for kids, along with a summer course in flight and Mars exploration for second and third graders. My last teaching stint was in southern Utah, on the Navajo Reservation, when the K – 5 Bluff Elementary School was preparing for their annual balloon fest.
I wrote several articles for Learning Magazine, numerous outdoor magazines, and countless letters to the editor, largely on energy, education, the environment, nuclear weapons, and similar topics. I spoke vociferously against nuclear weapons in Utah (the “MX Missile Project” in particular), and was most pleased to later see the Mormon Church adopt my position, almost verbatim. I appeared and spoke at many environmental and energy hearings in Salt Lake City. My first wife and I edited the Uinta Chapter of the Sierra Club Newsletter in the late seventies, and together (her artwork, my writing and hiking), put together a trail guide to the highest peaks and ridges in the Wasatch Mountains.
Being somewhat obsessed by the role of energy in civilization, after the energy crunch in the early seventies, I researched, developed, built, and wrote about a new design for greenhouses (Google “Solar Greenhouses, Underground”), and later lived off the grid for fifteen years in Shelley, Idaho, using similar principles, but also with photovoltaic solar panels and a large battery bank (Google “Living on Sunshine and Off the Grid,” for an article and video on that, made for my then third graders, at a time when we were assured that such things “couldn’t be done”). I built a dozen successful small windmills, which powered a self-starting recycled Renault alternator, among others, with twelve foot spruce blades.
I have two patents, one on an underwater gliding toy (using the first alteration of Archimedes’ buoyancy principle that I am aware of), available online at www.aquaglider.us. My other patent is on a new design for airships, and more on that can be found at www.hyperblimp.com. I like to think the websites speak for themselves. I also encourage you to Google “solar airship” if you’d like to see one of the four working solar vehicles that I designed, which run on nothing but sunlight.
I taught a full curriculum and much science in elementary school, grades three, four, and six, and thoroughly enjoyed working with kids (and still do, when the opportunity arises, as happened in Bluff, 2011).
I am an avid skier, hiker, rollerblader, and occasional bicycle rider (my Gary Fischer was ripped off, which put something of a damper on that sport some years ago, though I plan to “get back to it” before long).
I have been a photographer on and off since age 12, when my father gave me a box camera he had around the same age. I formed and ran a video and daily news club with my sixth graders, at Mountain View Elementary, a “West Side” school. Amazingly, over twenty five native tongues are spoken there. Fortunately, for me and the kids, most spoke at least reasonable English (some spoke and wrote fluently in two, three and even four languages), and we were always able to work things out with the few non-English speakers, mainly with the help of student translators and the students’ own burning desire to fit in with peers (I recall in particular one Iranian girl who didn’t speak a word of English in September, and who couldn’t keep quiet by the end of the year!). Mountain View is said to be the most culturally diverse elementary school in the United States, which I have come to believe is indeed the case. I have written about this topic and the extraordinary examples these students provide for kids born here.
Regarding the airship development, I was fortunate to win a Lindbergh Award, along with several others on our team, including a biologist from the University of Utah, to help study right whales off the coast of Argentina. We are hoping to complete this project in the fall of this year, along with several other research projects that are “waiting in the wings.”
I live with my wife, Christine, and my step-daughter, Erin, in northwest Salt Lake. Christine has published many articles on Open Salon, and is in the process of compiling several of these into book form. Erin does volunteer work with young, disabled children in the Salt Lake School District.
On August 17, 2005, I had a heart transplant, performed at the LDS Hospital, which was one of the most profound experiences I ever had. The heart works well, to say the least, and I was utterly and beyond words impressed with quality and caring of the nurses and doctors who weaned me through the ordeal. I was also incredibly fortunate to receive the new heart and be out of the hospital in a total of five weeks. I give thanks regularly to the unknown donor, and to the family of the donor, and naturally, advocate that everyone consider being a donor—the good that may come out of it is beyond one’s wildest imagination (and you can’t take those parts with you, as I’m sure you know).
The latter experience also made me acutely aware of the need for a rational health care program for the nation, which could easily be accomplished by expanding Medicare, or emulating other programs that work so well in other industrialized nations. (The cause of my heart problems was unknown, but a rather strange virus, sarcoidosis, is the main suspect; I was otherwise completely healthy and an avid athlete.)