Class of 1956
Lawrence Joseph Geels was born at home in Morrison Bluff, AR, on January 24, 1939, the youngest of 9 children. He attended Catholic elementary school at Morrison Bluff and then Subiaco Academy as a day student. Butch joined the Arkansas National Guard and was sent to Little Rock school for the integration of Central High School. He moved to Fort Smith at age 21 to work, where he delivered keg beer for David McMahon of Belle Point Beverage.
In 1962 he married Mary Ann Hug of Fort Smith and they moved back to the country in 1964 and started a registered Holstein herd. The family milked cows from 1964-1986. They have three children: Patrick who graduated in 1984, and Gregory who graduated in 1987, both from Subiaco Academy; and a daughter, Molly. They have 9 grandchildren. The Geels family was awarded “Logan County Farm Family of the Year” in 1983.
Butch has always been very active in church and community work. He was a CCD teacher, CYO youth coordinator, Parish Council president, 4-H leader and choir director for Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Morrison Bluff for 40 years. He continues to sing for weddings and funerals.
He was a member and officer in many organizations: Fair Board, local Farm Bureau Board, State & National Farm Bureau Dairy Board, State Young Dairyman for Central AR Milk Producers Assoc., and District voting delegate for American Milk Producers, Inc., for many years. He and Mary Ann served as State Sec./Treas. of the Arkansas Holstein Association for 13 years.
Butch had the gift of knowing cattle and working with them. He produced excellent cattle and showed Holsteins at the county, Fort Smith, and Little Rock State Fairs, winning many ribbons and awards. He taught workshops for young people on fitting and showing animals, and judged cattle shows and fairs. He had the top milking herd in the county at one time. After selling the dairy in 1986, Butch worked at Cloyes Gear for 13 years. In 1999 Abbot Jerome asked Butch to start a Registered Angus operation for the Abbey. David McMahon got cows donated and Butch studied up on the Angus breed. The cows were bred by artificial insemination to the best bulls in the breed. The resulting females were kept to build up numbers and the bulls were sold all over the state, resulting in a good reputation for Abbey cattle. His main helpers were Br. Tobias, Stan Schluterman, and volunteers from his family and the farm board. He started at the Abbey when he was 60 and retired when he was 70 years old.