April 29, 1944 - August 4, 2019
Service Date August 4, 2019
Memorial Service: 1:00 p.m. Friday, August 9, 2019 at Christ Chapel Bible Church.
Memorials: In lieu of flowers, please honor Dr. Geesbreght by donating to: The North Texas Ace Foundation. NTAF was founded by John’s friend and business partner, Dr. Compton Broders. NTAF exists to improve Human Healthcare and Animal Welfare — two things John cared deeply about; Texas Health Resources Foundation; Christ Chapel Bible Church, specifically in the area of Christian Leadership Development, which was important to John.
John Michael Geesbreght departed this life and stepped into glory on Sunday, August 4, 2019.
John Michael Geesbreght was born on April 29, 1944 and raised in an Italian neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. He was the only child of Josephine and Rene Geesbreght. The two worked tirelessly at numerous jobs to provide for their son. As a young child, John showed very little interest in school and had a reputation for “talking too much in class” and “disturbing others.” His mother, Josephine, once said, “John went to school every day, and his dad and I went to school every other day to meet with his teachers.” But his parents were unwavering in their support and encouragement of their son and his obvious talents. John was a doggedly curious child with a zest for self-education. He had an insatiable desire to gather information and to understand how things worked – traits that continued throughout his life.
In the summer before John’s fifth grade year, a pool accident left his best friend, Jerry, as a quadriplegic – unable to fulfill his dream of becoming a doctor. Weeks after the accident, John’s parents took him to visit his friend. During that visit, his friend told John, “One of us has to be a doctor, and it isn’t going to be me.” John always maintained that was the day he became a doctor.
In 1965, John graduated from the University of Illinois, Navy Pier in an accelerated pre-med program with a major in history and a minor in biology. He earned his medical degree from the Loyola Stritch School of Medicine in 1969 followed by his Masters of Science in physiology from Loyola. After performing his fellowship in the National Institute of Health’s Department of Physiology, John interned at Michael Reese Medical Center in Chicago from 1970-1972.
John’s love of emergency medicine and natural business acumen merged in 1974 when he formed Emergency Medicine Consultants (EMC), which contracted with hospitals and physicians to provide emergency medicine services. Over his forty-five-year career, John served as a practicing emergency medicine physician and CEO of EMC. But his true professional love was serving as the Medical Director at Texas Health Fort Worth hospital for an unprecedented forty-five consecutive years. It was in this role that he felt he had the privilege to lead, teach, and advocate for “his docs”. One of John’s great joys came from his relationships with those physicians.
Despite simultaneously performing three distinct professional roles, as well as serving on countless boards and community-focused councils, John always made time for his friends and family. In fact, John seemingly made time for everything. He enjoyed playing nearly every sport imaginable, and excelled at racquetball, ice hockey, and snow skiing (he was not good at golf). He raced both dirt and street motorcycles; he was an accomplished pilot; and he played numerous musical instruments, including the piano, trumpet, trombone, and banjo. John was an avid reader, amazing teacher, and dog lover. He loved life and living. Really living. He loved to tell stories and he laughed the loudest at his own jokes. And he loved cars. Fast ones. He loved to drive them, study them, and just marvel at their beauty. Family and friends often joked that John invented a sixth love language – buying cars for other people.
John was known and considered by many to be one of the most generous people they had ever met. In addition to countless – and often unknown – acts of kindness to those in need, he gave freely of his heart, soul, mind, wisdom, and time wherever and whenever he had an opportunity.
But mostly, John loved his family. There was not a conversation with John where he didn’t talk about his wife, Priscilla, or brag about his kids or grandkids. He loved traveling with his family and exposing them to experiences, which he valued over “things,” as he called them. As a father, he either coached or attended nearly every sporting event his children played in, regardless of how far he had to travel to be there. As a grandfather, he relished the unique differences among each of his grandchildren and what he saw as their special gifts, talents, and passions, which he encouraged them to expand and develop. He loved them dearly; he was proud of them shamelessly; and he believed in them endlessly.
Most importantly, John was a believer in Jesus Christ. He loved the Lord and was deeply grateful for the hope and peace that only his Savior provided. He did not see himself as an outspoken evangelist, but as with everything else in his life, he was a consummate student of the Bible – eager and able to analyze and discuss its teachings. While he will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved him, we rejoice in knowing he is in heaven with his Creator. (Word is he started remodeling the place twenty minutes after arriving.)
Survivors: John is survived by his wife of 40 years, Priscilla; his children, Andrea (Tom Von Ruff), Alexander (Carey), Andrew (Chelsea), and April (Trey Cushman); eight grandchildren, John (16), Joseph (14), Vivian (13), Lilliana (9), Emmylou (7), Olive (5), EverCrew (1), Westyn (4wks); mother in law, Sylvia Thompson; sister in law, Beverly Thompson; nieces, Jodi Johnson, Becky Phillips; and nephews, Eric Thompson and Dwight Thompson.