Geoffrey Christopher Lutz, 46, died unexpectedly January 10, 2019, at his home in Lawrence, Kansas, following a rich life and a late, fierce struggle against diabetes.
Geoff was strong and brave, kind and true, quick-witted and fun to be near. A tender husband and steadfast parent, he was a defender of the weak and needy, gentle with children and dogs, and impatient with fools. Many, many people counted him as a true friend.
He was born in Atchison, Kansas, where he attended Catholic schools, fished with his buddy at a nearby pond, and was a protective big brother to two sisters. The family moved to Lawrence in 1986.
Topped in youth by a flowing, flaxen mullet, Geoff in later years fancied himself “the best looking bald guy ever.” (Oh, was he handsome!)
He loved to bowl. He enjoyed playing golf with his dad, Larry, who passed in 2000 when Geoff was a new father, and treasured their times together. And he was crazy about football. Though he was just a midweight, Geoff was tall and fast and strong—and he worked hard to excel. All three years Geoff was on the Lawrence High School team, the Chesty Lions were state champs. He played both offense and defense and told his coach, “Put me where you need me, and I’ll do the job.” That philosophy carried forward.
At Fort Scott Community College and Ottawa University of Kansas, Geoff suited up for more football and studied sociology. He was instrumental in starting a local program to help older teens find financial independence. After school he worked for Milspec Security and the Amarr Garage Door Group.
In 2002 Geoff met Lina Lutz, his “bright, shiny coin.” He was, to her, both spark and grounding wire—and came with the added bonus of his young son, Brock. Married in 2008, Geoff and Lina spent their years together appreciating their good fortune to have found each other. As Lina says, “We were the only two people on earth that really, honestly found the other one funny.”
They made too many memories to recount, but one stands out: A 2012 trip to Key West, Florida, where the ocean waters had a soothing effect on Geoff’s feet, and they enjoyed a break from the cold (which he hated).
Geoff was especially proud of his son. They would spend hours tinkering on cars talking about Brock’s dreams and plans. He had mixed feelings about Brock’s ambition to join the Marines, but respected his son’s goals. Geoff was “proud he raised a man who could make decisions for himself and stick with them,” Lina recalls.
Geoff’s pleasures were simple: Hanging out with friends, cooking on the grill, drinking beer, and cheering on the Royals, KU, and the Kansas City Chiefs. He loved to draw and he loved to dance, boasting about his groove. Geoff sang made-up songs and brilliant rap lyrics to anyone who would listen—including his beloved oversize canines, Max and Maggie.
In recent years, Geoff had battled a seemingly unending run of diabetes-related health problems, but always with bravery and good humor. After learning that his disease had forced an amputation, he dubbed himself “Nine Toes.”
There were other setbacks, all them affecting something he loved. His vision came and went, sending him to an e-reader with extra-large type, and forcing him to suspend his drawing for a time. Vertigo made it difficult to deal with crowds and shadows. Nausea limited his travel. And he suffered recurring and debilitating pain.
Yet he took every setback in stride, handling them with grace and humor. Always sensitive to others, he tried to make sure those around him were comfortable with each new reality. Privately, though, he would sometimes rage against the unfairness of the universe. And then he would accept it, and continue with his life.
Through it all, Geoff found ways to be useful. Partially blind, he took a job as a stocker at Dillons, where he quickly became a most valued employee. Told that he could no longer work shifts on his feet, he took over housekeeping duties at home and became caregiver for Darla, the toddler daughter of their friend Autumn. Their relationship was a source of joy for them both, and for anyone watching the towering man and teeny girl together.
Survivors include his wife, Lina; son, Brock; mother Marsha Myers-Lutz and her partner, Jeff Edwards, of Ottawa; sisters Chanda and Becky, with partner Reggie Mayo, nephews Jordyn Martin and Isaiah and nieces Braelynn and Kyzia Mayo, and goddaughter Darla, all of Lawrence; fond in-laws; and an extensive Lutz family. He was preceded in death by his father, Larry.
A service is set for 1 p.m. Wednesday at Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, 601 Indiana St., with a memorial gathering starting 3 p.m. at Wayne & Larry’s Sports Bar, 933 Iowa St.