r.i.p. geoff partridge

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Geoff Partridge in 2017 with his beloved fiancée Jill Turanski. Family photo.

Rest in peace, Geoff Partridge.  May your memory always be a blessing.  You are at peace.

This is the post I hoped I would not have to write. It’s a story that is so hard to write. Last night came the news that a fisherman had found a male body in the Schuylkill River. I think if I am honest with myself, I had a sinking suspicion officials would say it was him because of where he was found compared to the proximity of where he disappeared.

When I first learned of Geoff Partridge being missing in December I did not at first realize that I knew his mother, Holly Morrison.  She and I share some very dear friends.  When you meet people as adults at a certain stage of your life you often do not realize who the kids are because they are grown-up and on their own.  Our mutual friends include those wonderful men who tirelessly searched the river by boat for Geoff.

I have been sitting with this news for a few hours at this point.  When Holly’s and my mutual friend Karen and I spoke I was speechless on the phone.  Then when I got off the phone I cried. Again, I did not know him personally but I cried. For his family, for his friends, for his life light burnt out too soon.  And for some reason bits of the Coldplay song Fix You wouldn’t leave my head.  I don’t know why that song.  I do not even know what kind of music Geoff liked.

One of the last lines of the song… Lights will guide you home.   I guess it was time for Geoff to come home for his loved ones to have closure.

Vinny Vella from the Philadelphia Inquirer was the kind reporter who wrote an article in December when Geoff was first missing.  We turned to him then because it was hard to get coverage of Geoff going missing when it happened, and he was amenable to telling Geoff’s story.  So we turned to him today again as soon as Holly and our friends knew for certain the man found in the river was indeed her son.  Here is what he wrote a little while ago:

Villanova man, missing since December, found dead in Schuylkill, police say
by Vinny Vella Philadelphia Inquirer

Vinny Vella | @Vellastrations | vvella@phillynews.com

Geoffrey Partridge, 36, was found dead in the Schuylkill late Thursday, almost exactly four months after his SUV was found, abandoned, on one of the river’s banks.

A fisherman discovered Partridge’s body about 6:30 p.m. in the water along River Road near Hollow Road in Gladwyne…Partridge’s cause of death was ruled to be drowning, and its manner was ruled to be a suicide, according to a spokesperson for the coroner’s office.

Holly Morrison, Partridge’s mother, said in a brief interview Friday that her “heart is broken” and she and her family were struggling to process the news.

We’re not supposed to bury our children.  My heart is so heavy for her, Geoff’s fiancée Jill, and their family and friends.  Geoff and Jill shared 15 years together. When Holly and I swapped text messages a little while ago she told me she is at such a loss for words and is devastated.

I see that Jill has posted on the Geoff Partridge page on Facebook.  I will share her words:

gp

 

In January of this year, Jill also said:

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I totally teared up the first time I read what she wrote in January, and again today.  There are people who are brilliant and too brief lights in our lives.  Geoff Partridge meant so much to so many.

I am not going to speculate on what happened that fateful evening he disappeared.  As it has been reported, Geoff had bipolar depression and Lyme disease.  Ok that right there is a toxic and exhausting scenario.  And people do not take seriously enough the neurological impacts of Lyme as well as the more obvious symptoms, including pain.

And if you have ever had friends who suffered from any form of depression, it’s a complicated thing to live with.  And I think it’s harder on men because in our society the traditional roles of men being stoic and strong and not expressing how they feel as readily as women makes it harder. It’s the whole boys don’t cry.

My friends tell me how lovely a person Geoff Partridge was. He loved and was loved in return.  I don’t know what else to write.  I am at a loss here as I feel the sadness of this news today quite profoundly. Part of this is just me as a cancer survivor – death hits me differently now. Also as a parent, this hits me hard.

Ar dheas Dé go raibh a anam. (May his soul be on God’s right hand.)

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family photo

 

 

light a candle for the missing

As 2018 draws to a close, light a candle for the missing. I have lit two bay candles.

One candle is lit for Geoff Partridge of Villanova.

One candle is lit for Anna Maciejewska Gould of Malvern.

They have people who love them and the families deserve the answers they seek. My wish as I lit the candles are for the missing to find their way home.

I know neither of these missing people personally, but this could happen to any family.

Here’s hoping the new year brings answers and the missing do indeed find their way home.

Thanks for stopping by.

missing at christmastime: geoff partridge from lower merion township

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This is being posted on Facebook and other social media outlets. Geoff Partridge has been missing for days.  His family and friends are frantic.

Geoff Partridge has been missing since about December 5th from what I can piece together.  And the only media that seems interested is Patch, Main Line Media News, and CBS Philly. Truthfully there is NOT much media on this and I can’t help but wonder why?

Geoff Partridge went missing in Lower Merion Township.  Is Lower Merion not excercising all options to locate a missing and potentially endangered person?  There is so little information available it’s kind of odd.

Does Geoff Partirdge have to be a missing teen or woman?  Or will this turn into one of these Lower Merion missing person mysteries? You know like Toni Lee Sharpless??? She went missing once upon a time in Lower Merion, correct? Or what about Anna Bronislawa Maciejewska from Chester County?  How do these people just vanish and it seems up to ordinary citizens to keep the missing persons cases alive?

When I first saw the missing blasts crossing social media I shared because he came from the township I essentially grew up in and spent a lot of my adult life living in.  He also just looked like a nice person. Kind of what motivated me to share about Anna Maciejewska when she first went missing. Life is short and precious and it costs nothing to pay it forward.

Then I read Geoff Partridge suffered from  bi-polar depression and  between Thanksgiving and the New Year can be really, really hard for anyone experiencing depression. It’s hard enough some years for any of us for any number of reasons.   All I kept thinking is his poor family, not realizing at first I actually know his mother as she and I share mutual close friends.

After I first shared the missing post my friends contacted me to say thank you and to tell me I did know his mom.  And as day after day goes by, I can’t help but wonder what is being said off of the record somewhere that this does NOT seem to be getting the media attention it should?

My friends from Gladwyne and many other residents are combing the area near where his car was found every day for hours.  I have friends with boats on the river who live down on River Road and close by who have been searching.  Even Philadelphia Search and Rescue has gotten into the act, so what gives in the Magic Kingdom that it just doesn’t feel like other than friends and neighbors have a sense of urgency?

Here is what TAPinto Lower Merion and Narberth has had to say:

Gladwyne, PA — Cadaver dogs from the Greater Philadelphia Search & Rescue Team joined the Gladwyne Fire Company Water Rescue Unit Sunday, December 9, searching for a missing Villanova, PA man.  The man’s car was found Wednesday at 1:47 PM partially submerged in the Schuylkill River.

Geoff Partridge, 37, of Villanova, PA, went missing on Wednesday, December 5 at around 12:15 pm.

The car was submerged but the rear end of the vehicle was still showing when it was noticed….The LMPD’s working theory is that the man was washed from the vehicle by the fast flowing river’s current after the car plunged into the frigid water.  The water temperature is low enough that a body could be submerged and unless found may not be spotted until the temperature rises in the spring….Roughly 27 persons, 3 dogs, and 5 rescue boats were employed for the search.  The local team from Gladwyne Fire Company used two boats, the Greater Philadelphia Search and Rescue unit provided 3 boats.  Detective-Sergeant Michael Vice of the Lower Merion Police Department oversaw the entire operation.

Ok seriously. Not trying to be critical of law enforcement but Geoff Partridge is someone’s son and husband and friend and so on.  He matters.  Please pay it forward and share this post or the others on social media.

His family deserves answers.

#GeoffPartridgeismissing

geoff partridge

This was posted by someone I know on Facebook.

#partylikeits1985 #novanation

 Well Villanova University is in the NCAA final which starts shortly. 

It’s so crazy to think that was 31 years ago.  So I figured if people were supposed to party like it’s 1985, someone should post some of the 1985 clippings! I found these a few months ago in a scrapbook!

   

  
The Inquirer ran a story the other day about 1985.
 
 It was crazy. I was in Bryn Mawr the night they won and walked with a few friends from then John Barleycorn’s in Bryn Mawr with this enormous sea of people up to Villanova’s campus. 
 Apparently in 1985 cars got flipped over but I never saw that. I just remember the surreal feeling of being in a sea of people moving up Lancaster Avenue with no cars on the road. I don’t know if anyone has photographs from 1985 but it was crazy.
  
It would be nice for the Villanova Wildcats to get this win tonight. I just saw Rollie Massimino on the news. He looks so frail and old it made me kind of sad – and the 1985 team was on the news too. 

So let’s go ‘Nova.  Do it again.
  

up in smoke: historic bloomfield in villanova burns

I believe I was in 9th or 10th grade the last time there was a fire at the historic Radnor Township mansion known as Bloomfield.    Bloomfield was built at the turn of the 20th century in the Radnor Township portion of Villanova on the bones of a Victorian Estate built for  Albert Eugene Gallatin in the 1880’s.  Bloomfield was built by Horace Trumbauer and her gardens were designed by the Olmstead brothers.

This place in my opinion was like Radnor’s La Ronda and it was a marvel it had survived this long without being torn down or bastardized.  It looked like a French Chateau with fabulous gardens and a graceful, grand presence.  It was being rented by a Canadian family at the time of the fire – which began mid-afternoon yesterday.

I went today to the site and when I got out of my car there were some news vans at the estate entrance on S. Ithan and the air smelled heavily of smoke.  As I went to take my photos I also glanced up the street shows the gaping, ravaged land where private school Agnes Irwin had been reportedly blasting this week.

There were many gapers and gawkers on the driveway and the road when I arrived and I wandered around with a local reporter from Radnor Patch  (Sam Strike) taking photos.  We got up the driveway to in front of the fencing now surrounding the site where we were met by a Radnor police officer who was none too happy to see us and asked us to leave.  He also threatened to take my camera.  He was just doing his job.

So we left, and we got some good photos, and as we wandered back down the driveway, there were yet more gawkers, so I would not be surprised if they did not soon post a police car at the foot of the driveway.

People are driving up and down S. Ithan hoping for a glance of the scene, and I found others back around Trianon Lane, where you can see glimpses of the gardens, house, and pool from behind wrought iron fencing.

NBC10 is reporting that investigators are trying to find a cause.  The state police fire investigator is now reported to be in charge of the investigation.  I was told that around 175 volunteer fire fighters responded from several companies from all over the area to fight this fire.  (This as a related aside is why everyone should support their local first responders and on the Main Line and in Chester County they are a predominantly volunteer force.)  First responders came from  Radnor, Bryn Mawr, Ardmore, Gladwyne, Penn Wynne, King Of Prussia, Manoa and Newtown Square.

They say the slate roof made it hard for firefighters to break into the roof and battle the fire.  I am also told some firefighters may have suffered some issues due to the heat, etc of the fire.  God bless them for what they did, because truthfully, I know many people near the mansion who had fears of the fire jumping via the trees surrounding the property.   With wind and fire, you just never know how it will travel.

The mansion was most recently owned by Jerald Batoff, son of a former Democratic fundraiser heavyweight, William “Bill” Batoff.   I looked at Delaware County property records yesterday and Batoff had only owned it a few years.  I am told by neighbors that although it had renters, the mansion had been for sale.  Apparently a movie soon to be released called “Safe” was partially filmed there in 2010 – the mansion was a film double for New York City’s Gracie Mansion.

I think this is an incredibly sad loss if this mansion ends up not being rebuilt (I am sure residents will now be nervous that the mansion will be razed and the land sold for some sort of development because that would be a natural thought process after a fire of such devastation), and it is but for the grace of God that people weren’t killed because of this fire.

Here’s the coverage:

Radnor Patch: History Goes Up in Flames at Radnor Mansion:Bloomfield was home to historic architecture.  By Bob Byrne and Sam Strike  Email the authors  5:51 am

When fire tore through the mansion named Bloomfield on South Ithan Avenue on Wednesday, it not only repeated history, but also destroyed it.

Watching with a crowd of neighbors as Bloomfield burned, real estate agent and home builder Jeff Bader lamented what he was seeing.

“It’s a shame. They don’t build them like that anymore,” Bader said about the home with 19 bedrooms, a 25 by 35-foot ballroom and six-car garage.

“You can’t replicate the workmanship and design,” Bader told Patch as firefighters moved into the third hour of fighting the flames.

Historic Main Line mansion falls to fire

By Bonnie L. Cook and Robert Moran  Inquirer Staff Writers

A historic Main Line mansion in Radnor Township was gutted by a fire  Wednesday afternoon.

An automatic alarm was triggered shortly before 2:30 p.m., and by the time  firefighters arrived, flames could be seen shooting through the roof of the  three-story structure on the estate known as Bloomfield, said Township Fire  Marshal Don Wood.

A man and woman who were renting the property got out safely with their two  dogs and a rabbit in a cage, Wood said. Three firefighters suffered minor  injuries.

The fire, which started in an area between the main house and an adjoining  garage, was declared under control before 6 p.m., but fire crews were still  putting out hot spots well into the night, Wood said.

About 10 companies and 175 firefighters responded to the blaze, which was the  equivalent of four alarms, Wood said.

As they battled the towering flames, the mansion was veiled in white smoke  that would occasionally clear enough to reveal the charred remains….The estate was originally the site of the Victorian home of Albert Eugene  Gallatin, which was built around 1885.

George McFadden Jr., a cotton tycoon, acquired the estate, and in the early  1920s he hired famed Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer to remake the main  residence ….It became known as Bloomfield, the name of a branch of the family, the  historical society reported in a 1988 newsletter article.

McFadden died when he was electrocuted by a steam cabinet in a bathroom, the  article said, but the estate remained in the family until 1984.

In late 2010, the 5.87-acre estate served as a double for Gracie Mansion, the  official residence of New York City’s mayor, for the Jason Statham action movie Safe…Bloomfield, listed for sale last year at $6.9 million, had 19 bedrooms and  nine full baths in its 22,000-plus square feet of living space, officials  said.

County records show the property is owned by Jerald Batoff, the son of the  late William Batoff, a prominent Democratic fund-raiser.

NBC10: No Cause Yet for Main Line Mansion Fire/State authorities take over investigation into massive Villanova mansion fire

By   Dan Stamm and  Rosemary Connors
|  Thursday, Apr 5, 2012  |  Updated 2:56 PM EDT

On Thursday all that was left of a once a sprawling Main Line Mansion was the charred remains and stone walls.

Just a day earlier flames broke out at the historic Horace Trumbauer-designed mansion at 200 S Ithan Avenue in Villanova, Pa….On Thursday the State Police and state fire officials took over the investigation into the cause of the multi-alarm blaze at the 22,000-plus-square-foot home as authorities remained quiet as to what could have caused the massive blaze.

Neighbors told NBC10 that renters were apparently inside when the fire started…A few firefighters suffered minor injuries battling the blaze.

Delaware County assessed the property for nearly $2.25 million in August 2006 but the historic home, built more than 100 years ago, could be worth more.

The property is valued at nearly $5 million on Zillow.com….According to the home’s property record, the three-story, single-family home was built in 1905 and includes 19 bedrooms, 12.5 bathrooms, nine fireplaces, a full basement and a pool.

Fire struck the house once before. In 1978, flames consumed a large portion of the upper level.

Jerald Batoff bought the home in 2001, according to Delaware County records. The home was up for sale in the Fall for $6.9 million, a real estate source tells NBC10. It doesn’t appear it ever sold.