Remembering RFH Teacher Geoff Blake

Sporting a sweater vest, a head full of curls and an impish grin, plopped atop a desk and holding court is how many Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) grads remember longtime Social Studies teacher and advisor Geoff Blake.

It’s that image and plenty of lessons learned at his hands that RFHers hold tight in a cache of high school memories as they mourn the popular teacher who passed away at 74 on Oct. 10. He was being laid to rest today.

Relatable was Geoff Blake’s middle name. He seemed to fit right in with his students — wedged between a teen’s desk and a teacher’s pointer. When the 30-year teacher started his career in the 1970s, he wasn’t all that much older than the teens he taught. He could have easily been mistaken for a more “mature” senior, toting books to the lounge, bearing “a face about to explode with laughter about something funny that had happened,” former student Sue Barnes Carras, Class of ’72 mused. “Geoff was a great friend …” to many. ” We think of him often. We had so much fun.”

Fun was the adjective used over and over again by former students in remembering him. An infectious, life-altering persona was the unwitting lesson he embodied, as those he taught and taught with saw it.

“If you are REALLY lucky, somewhere along the way you meet a special teacher. Someone who changes your life for the better. That was Geoff Blake, for so many of us. He became a great friend and a bright light in all our lives … He was one-of-a-kind and he will be missed but we are all better off for knowing him.” 

Barbara Daly Campbell, RFH grad

“Your no BS attitude was just what I needed,” said Christine Quirk Scalera. “You were loved and will be missed! You are the reason I am in education now.”

Inspiration is something else that Geoff Blake was known to offer in his own unintentional way to both those students and fellow faculty members.

“I had the pleasure to work closely with Geoff in my later years at RFH, thoroughly enjoying his spontaneous wit and upbeat personality. He was a breath of fresh air in some politically challenging times, but then he was always a breath of fresh air! Having shared occasional email conversations in this past year, I’m so happy to have reconnected with Geoff before this untimely separation. The world is more somber for his passing, less inspired and joyful. Rest in peace, dear Geoff!

Lynn Broten, RFH teacher

And then there was just plain love and light that he was known to bask in and shed:

“The RFH Class of 1990 loved you!”

“The best teacher and class advisor,” RFH Class of ’94.

“In memory of one of the best teachers and role model to us all,” RFH class of 1991.

Outside of the classroom and halls of RFH, Geoff Blake “loved the beach, beer, and burgers. He also enjoyed exercise either by walking the Spring Lake boards or working out at the Atlantic Club in Wall where he was a member for many years. Additionally, he loved to share his opinion on any topic, and he was able to channel this passion by working as the editor for The Mews News, the Fairway Mews newsletter.”

Geoff is survived by: his brother, A. John Blake and wife Joan, of Westfield; his nephews, Richard B. Smith and wife Gina, and Robert A. Smith and wife Susan; his great niece, Madison, and his great-nephew, Blake; his godchildren, Robert and Michelle Horre’; and his loving friend, Craig Chern. 

Viewing was held on Wednesday, Oct. 13, at O’Brien Funeral Home, Wall. A mass of christian burial was held on Thursday at St. Catharine’s RC Church, Spring Lake followed by the entombment at St. Catharine’s Cemetery, Sea Girt.

Rest In Peace, Mr. Blake. You are remembered.

John Caroli
BCS Wealth Management