Petersburg native Ed Geers leaves a legacy for his community

Ed Geers remembers his life with his late wife Sally Guthrie as “a work of art”.

Whether it was building economic equality in the Post-Civil Rights era South, supporting livestock improvement programs in Haiti and Ukraine, or rebuilding the infrastructure of war-torn Cambodia, they stuck together, supporting each other’s desire to make a difference all around the world.

“I always felt like our lives together were a work of art,” he says holding back tears. “We were very, very close. When we got married we had the policy that we would always work together. Whoever got the job first the other would join them. We were able to do that all of our lives.”

After witnessing the struggles for democracy in Haiti, Cambodia, and Ukraine, his wife turned to community organizing to engage citizens in the democratic process and won awards for her efforts. After her death in 2014, an outstanding volunteer award was created in her memory.

Today, Ed has returned to his roots in Delaware County. In his apartment in Manchester he recalls growing up on his family farm north of Petersburg and the lessons that shaped his life early on from his father.

“I remember our neighbor’s wife had become very ill,” he says. “Their children were rather young at the time and without anybody asking we just went down and did the chores and did the work for them and that's what people did for us. I think it was very typical of rural communities in those days.”

 Now back at home in Delaware County, Ed continues to volunteer, this time for a scenic byway project. While exploring ways to give back to his community, Ed was connected with the Foundation for the Future of Delaware County, an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque.

In honor of Sally, Ed decided to leave a legacy gift in his estate plan that will establish the Ed Geers and Sally Guthrie Endowment for Environmental Education to promote the education of future environmental stewards. 

“I’m doing it in her honor,” says Ed. “She’d be very proud. I want to make sure that as many people as possible benefit from what our life.” 

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To learn more about the Legacy Society of the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, visit or call 563.588.2700.

To learn more about the Foundation for the Future of Delaware County and other affiliates of the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, visit

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Founded in 2002, the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque strengthens communities and inspires giving. We are dedicated to improving the quality of life throughout Northeast Iowa by serving donors, making grants to local nonprofit organizations, and providing community leadership through convening and collaboration. Guided by the values of integrity, equity and inclusion, collaboration, excellence and innovation, we seek to ensure a vibrant and inclusive Greater Dubuque region with resources and opportunity for all.