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Optician killed in Upper Merion during nor'easter identified

Geoffrey Schmidt was the lone local fatality during the the storm Friday that claimed at least six other lives on the East Coast

Geoffrey Schmidt was killed when a tree crashed onto his car Friday during the nor’easter.
Geoffrey Schmidt was killed when a tree crashed onto his car Friday during the nor’easter.Read moreSchmidt Family

Geoffrey Schmidt, 58, of Upper Merion, an optician and avid beekeeper, was the lone local fatality during the nor'easter that lashed the region on Friday, his family confirmed on Monday.

"He was on his way home from work on his regular route" around 7 p.m., about a mile from his home, said his brother-in-law, Louis Brawley, when a 45-foot portion of a tree crashed down on his car on South Gulph Road. The married father of three was pronounced dead at the scene. At least six other deaths on the East Coast were connected to the storm.

Mr. Schmidt was a lifelong lover of nature who studied forestry in college and was dedicated to harvesting honey and making candles, Brawley said.

>> READ MORE: Info on transit, utilities, schools and more ahead of Wednesday's nor'easter

"He was constantly giving people candles and honey," Brawley said.

Mr. Schmidt was born in Bryn Mawr, one of six children of  Dr. William C. Schmidt and Mary Quinlan Schmidt. He met his wife, Ellen, at Radnor High School. He went on to get a one-year diploma while studying forestry at Sterling College in Vermont and was one class shy of graduation while studying solar technology at Jordan College Alternative Energy Institute in Michigan, Brawley said.

Mr. Schmidt started a home-improvement business with his brother Hank during the 1980s and then was a floor-covering salesman during the 1990s.

Because of his personable nature as a salesman, he was recruited for an optical business in Bryn Mawr, where he worked from 1998 until his death.

For three decades, he regularly attended the Philadelphia Folk Festival with his family, Brawley said. He loved to attend the Walnut Street Theatre and travel around the United States.

Mr. Schmidt served as a volunteer EMT during Pope Francis' visit to Philadelphia in 2015.

In addition to his wife and brother-in-law, he is survived by sons William C. II and Patrick G.; daughter Mary Kathleen; and four sisters.

A viewing is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 8, at McConaghy Funeral Home, 328 Lancaster Ave., Ardmore. A Funeral Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. Friday, March 9, at Mother of Divine Providence Church, 333 Allendale Rd., King of Prussia.