In the past few months, each of the four special fire districts on the Hill — Idyllwild Fire, and Fern Valley, Idyllwild and Pine Cove waters — saw one of their board members resign, all for health reasons.
The first to resign was Charlie Wix in February 2017. Through a bumbling process where another director was chosen who then refused to serve, eventually, in January of this year, George Rowell was appointed to replace Wix.
Also in January, Joel Palmer resigned from PCWD. Steven King was appointed to replace him in March.
And, too, in January, Geoffrey Caine resigned from IWD. Dave Hunt replaced him in March.
Most recently, last week, Jeannine Charles-Stigall resigned from the Idyllwild Fire commission. We urge residents within the district who also are registered to vote there, to get your letters of intent and résumés in by Wednesday, April 18, to be considered.
Sadly for our community, Geoffrey passed away Saturday, Feb. 24. Jack and I attended the beautiful memorial service for this brilliant and kind man at St. Hugh’s Episcopal Church. The community packed into the church to celebrate his life, led by Mary Morse, and his very close friends Carol McClintic and Sam Crowell.
Only in Idyllwild do people commemorate a person’s life with such eloquent memories, impromptu songs and loving poems. It was a perfect tribute to a man who gave so much to this community and others whose lives he touched in other communities. And looking back, I can imagine him watching it all and saying, “Perfect!”
My own memories of Geoffrey are of a man content with his life and this town he loved so dearly. His brilliant mind and robust laugh — Carol summed it up so well when she said Geoffrey didn’t just laugh when he was humored, his whole body laughed.
I remember times on the deck at Café Aroma with the Caines, Carol, Sam and Debbie Crowell, and John and Alla Marshall — and whoever else happened by — enjoying the outdoor ambience under a canopy of pines and oaks, listening to John’s irreverent jokes and his squabbles with Alla.
Geoffrey once told me how he met Renate and I was grateful someone related that story at the service. The two were inseparable and extremely dear to each other. I never remember a cross word between them.
Before Aroma became Aroma, it was Uptown Café. I would take breaks in what is now the Herb Jeffries Room, back then a room with two-top tables. Before I knew the Caines, they often ate lunch in that room while I sat at an adjacent table knitting. Not meaning to listen in but the room is small so when you’re alone, you hear.
Their discussions were intelligent and their debates were never contentious. “What about …,” I can still hear Renate posit. And often Geoffrey would lean back in his chair sitting sideways with his legs crossed, say, “Hmm …” and ponder — sometimes for minutes — before responding to the woman he loved.
Geoffrey took on the Chamber presidency and Idyllwild Water directorship during stressful times. Anyone of us, whether we agreed with him or not, respected his thoughtfulness and eagerness to serve.