Andrew Michael Geller, who died on December 25th at age 87, was artist, designer, architect, and my grandfather. He had a glimmer in his eyes and a whimsical sense of humor right down to his last conscious moments. That whimsy characterized so much of his life and work.
The son of Russian emigrants, Joseph and Olga Geller, Andrew grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Early in his life, his father, an artist, implored him to “look and see,” meaning to study the world around him and produce beautiful things that would celebrate life and make the world a better place.
Andrew attended Manhattan’s High School of Music and Art, and later studied architecture and fine art at the Cooper Union under Robert Gwathmey, father of the architect Charles Gwathmey. It was while recovering from exposure to mustard gas in an Army training exercise that he read an article about industrial designer Raymond Loewy, and became determined to work for him once the war was over. Before returning to civilian life, he designed Liberty Ship interiors as a Naval architect for the United States Maritime Commission, and also served in the U.S. Corp of Engineers.