Revised 14 April 1997 (fittingly Harold Colloff's birthday, 1907)

In Memorium


24 October 1931, to 15 February 1997.


Geoffrey did not have any advance warning of his death. He had arranged to spend the Saturday evening with his good friend Mrs Marcia Lizza. Just before she set out to join him in his apartment (photo) on Seminary Drive (map 2), he rang to say that he thought that he was having another heart attack.

Marcia told him to phone the emergency services and rushed over, to arrive with the paramedics, and accompany them to Marin General Hospital, where they were unable to save him.

Marcia then had the unwelcome task of phoning Geoffrey's daughter, Hilary, at her home in San Diego, and breaking the news to her. She was greatly comforted and helped in this by the hospital chaplain, Bruce Murphy.

After Hilary arrived from San Diego, and had been joined from England by John and Annette (his brother and sister-in-law) Bruce Murphy continued to greatly help and aid grieving friends and relatives. In particular, he kindly agreed to conduct the memorial service that Hilary and Marcia arranged to be held in the grounds of the Marin Community Congregational Church of Belvedere (map 2), at Tiburon.

Memorial Service

The brilliant Californian sun, that had lured Geoffrey to San Francisco over 30 years' ago, shone warmly down on the forty or so, friends and relatives as they gathered for the early afternoon service. The service was held in the open air on the church lawns, overlooking the bay with San Francisco and its Golden Gate Bridge in the background, giving a beautiful and relaxed air to the proceedings.

These were opened with some general comments by Bruce Murphy, welcoming those present and thanking them on behalf of Hilary for attending. Bruce then spoke of the Geoffrey Colloff that he had come to know from those left behind to mourn him. An Englishman, Entrepeneur, and Computer Buff, interested in Zen Buddhism, and long time Church member, with a wry sense of humour enjoying many British comedy programmes. Bruce read a section from Zen philosophy chosen by Hilary, and one of Geoff's favourite poems, Wordsworth's "Daffodils".

Bruce then kindly read a biography of Geoffrey, prepared by his brother, John, with a few details of Geoff's early life that were new to many present. However, they were sufficient to stir many memories and at Bruce's invitation, the following spoke of their memories of Geoffrey;

Marcia Lizza said that she had known Geoff for many years, having met him at this Church, and had many reasons to remember his friendship, kindness and humour. She had considered Geoff her best friend, ever, and would sadly miss him.

Horst Klocke (photo with Diane) was also a long time friend of Geoff's, who, he said , had pushed him into buying a computer and joining in Geoff's enthusiasm for home PCs. Horst remembered Geoff as a man without prejudice against any race or creed, yet with a dry sense of humour. He remembered many hours' of animated talk, serious and jocular. In fact he could only think in terms of coffee breaks that lasted for two or three hours, and lunch meetings that only closed in the late afternoon after four or five hours' of continuous and entertaining discussions. Horst also felt that he had lost a true friend in Geoff.

Bernie Levinson, Geoff's business partner and friend, remembered Geoff , with affection , as 'just one crazy Englishman'. He described how Geoff, invited by Bernie and his wife Anna, to their party last Christmas, had arrived with English Crackers. These were new to them and so Geoff soon had them all pulling the explosive crackers, laughing at the jokes, playing games and wearing funny hats. He remembered Geoff's grasp of business detail that made him such a valuable business partner and how much he would miss the sadly needed computer coaching that Geoff had pushed at him. Bernie said that he will certainly miss Geoff, but promised that next Christmas, they would again have crackers in his memory.

Bruce then brought the service to a close, with the following reading that he had chosen and that was entirely appropriate to the occasion and place.

It is called "Child of the Earth", and is attributed to Pat Helmberger.

When you are told that I am dead . . .
. . . do not believe it.
Walk among the trees . . .
I will speak to you in the soft mystery of the winds.
Touch a leaf sprinkled with sunshine . . .
. . . and you will be touching me.
Pick up a smooth worn stone and throw it . . .
. . . far into the sea.
That will help you to understand that I am not dead.
Whether I am in your hands or in the sea
I'm a child of the changing earth . . . . changed and free.

The mourners mingled in the sunshine, to chat with each other about other memories of Geoff. The atmosphere was greatly eased by the drinks and refreshments arranged and distributed by Hilary and her friends.

On the Community Church lawns, Belvedere, 21 February 1997.

No formal guest list was maintained and apologies are made to anyone omitted in error. This has been very difficult to assemble from England without access to any of Geoff's papers. I am grateful for the help given to me by Marcia, Bernie and Horst.

On advisement any errors and or omissions will be immediately rectified with full apologies.

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file C:\geoff_31.doc ... 1 May 1997