May 15, 2012


Joseph W. Geary (J.D. ’48) enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in November 1942, flying more than 50 European combat missions as a navigator and serving in the liberation of France in WWII. After 70 years, France honored him last October in Houston with its highest military decoration: Knight of the Legion of Honor. When his plane was damaged and co-pilot severely injured in October 1944, he helped guide the pilot toward the safety of an Allied airfield in Yugoslavia. For his accomplishments he was given the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal. After earning his law degree at SMU, he helped to found the North Dallas firm of Geary, Porter and Donovan and also served as a Dallas County assistant district attorney and City Council member. He downplays his WWII exploits and subsequent awards: “I’d like to say I did a lot more than I did. But sometimes you’re just there.”


The Rev. John Michael Patison Sr. edited the first published history of the Central Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church. He is conference historian and chair of its Commission on Archives and History. His children are SMU graduates: Pamela Patison Signori ’82, ’86 and John Michael Patison Jr. ’85.