Geoffrey Donovan Aggeler

Friday, Sep. 07, 2018
Geoffrey Donovan Aggeler + Enlarge
Geoffrey Donovan Aggeler

September 26, 1939 ~ July 31, 2018

Geoffrey Donovan Aggeler passed on July 31, 2018 at Serenity House in Santa Barbara, Calif., due to multiple causes.

He was born September 26, 1939, in Berkeley, Calif., the only child of William Ford Aggeler and Shirley Donovan Aggeler. When he was 2, the three moved to Santa Barbara, where he attended Catholic schools. During his childhood he also lived with his maternal grandparents, John Joseph and Minda Donovan, to whom he was especially close, in Casper, Wyo.

From 1957 to 1959 he was a student at Santa Clara University, transferring to the University of California at Davis as a junior.  It was there he met Sondra Croce. They wed two years later at Carmel Mission, and went on to enjoy 56 love- and fun-filled years of marriage. They shared a passion for animals and concern for people that led them into active involvement in numerous causes in Salt Lake City and Santa Barbara. They have three children: Brian Croce (Angela), Jill Marie (Jaime) and Christian Donovan (Heidi). Geoff loved the outdoors, and he ran 12 marathons, including Pikes Peak, and recorded a personal best of 2:52. In his younger years he worked as a seasonal ranger and fire crew leader with the U.S. Forest Service, and was a member of the Los Padres Hot Shot Crew. Geoff was also a martial artist and in 2000 he was named the honorary chair of the Utah Open Karate Tournament.

Geoff earned his PhD in English from UC Davis in 1966.  His first appointment was at Royal Roads in Victoria, British Columbia, where he coached the judo team along with his teaching duties. After three years he took an appointment at the University of Utah, where he taught for 32 years before retiring as an emeritus professor of English. In 1998, he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He published both scholarly books and novels throughout his life, including Confessions of Johnny Ringo, hailed as a masterpiece by novelist Anthony Burgess. Geoff chaired sessions at meetings of the Modern Language Association, the Marlowe Society, and the Philological Association of the Pacific Coast. Geoff held visiting appointments in drama and the writing program at UCSB, and taught courses in Shakespeare at the Schott Center.  

Geoff was an honorable, intelligent and kind man, who was a proud Democrat and Catholic. But he was most proud of his beloved grandchildren: Madeleine Marie, Mia Gabrielle, Gwenyth Taylor, Sean Geoffrey, and Donovan James.  

A celebration of Geoff’s life will be held at a later date.

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