Fort Worth

John Geesbreght, longtime Fort Worth emergency medicine doctor, passes away at 75

John and Priscilla Geesbreght
John and Priscilla Geesbreght

As a child, John Geesbreght was known for talking too much in school and, even at times, for disturbing others.

But the boy raised on the south side of Chicago grew up to make a deep and lasting imprint in Fort Worth.

As a doctor.

Dr. Geesbreght — who served for more than four decades as chief of emergency medicine at Texas Health Fort Worth — died Sunday after suffering a stroke. He was 75.

“Texas Health Fort Worth is a beacon of hope and healing because of people like Dr. Geesbreght,” Barclay Berdan, CEO of Texas Health Resources, said in a statement. “He will be missed but never forgotten.”

A memorial service to honor his life is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday at Christ Chapel Bible Church, 3701 Birchman Ave., Fort Worth.

Dr. Geesbreght’s family said in an obituary they wrote that he decided to be a doctor when he was in elementary school.

It happened when his parents took him to see his best friend, Jerry, who had been in a pool accident that left him a quadriplegic. Jerry had always wanted to be a doctor.

While the two visited, Jerry told John: “One of us has to be a doctor, and it isn’t going to be me,” the obituary said.

“John always maintained that was the day he became a doctor.”

Dr. Geesbreght went on to graduate from the University of Illinois, Navy Pier, and the Loyola Stritch School of Medicine. He also earned a master’s of science from Loyola. After a fellowship and internship, he made his way to Fort Worth, where he served as an emergency medicine physician — and so much more.

“Dr. Geesbreght was the consummate servant leader,” Berdan said in his statement. “He helped Texas Health Fort Worth’s ER and trauma program achieve regional and national recognition for quality care. Among many business accomplishments, he founded the first scribe company in the U.S. and formed the ER physician group that has provided emergency medicine services to Texas Health facilities throughout the region.”

One of his biggest loves was serving as medical director at Texas Health Fort Worth.

“He trained thousands of young clinicians over the years, sharing his skills, knowledge and experience with future generations of caregivers,” Berdan said.

His work spanned so much more, though.

Through the years, he was a leader in many efforts, serving on countless councils and boards.

He helped with the fundraising campaign for the Marion Emergency Center at Texas Health Fort Worth, where the simulation training lab is named in his honor, and donated to the TCU and UNTHSC’s School of Medicine to create the school’s first endowed chair of emergency medicine.

He and his wife, Priscilla, donated to many other efforts and causes as well, including the Justin Patient Surgical Tower at Texas Health Fort Worth.

“He loved life and living. Really living,” his family’s tribute to him stated. “He loved to tell stories, and he laughed the loudest at his own jokes. And he loved cars. Fast ones. He loved to drive them, study them, and just marvel at their beauty.”

But most important, his family said, “John was a believer in Jesus Christ. He loved the Lord and was deeply grateful for the hope and peace that only his Savior provided.”

Survivors include his wife, Priscilla; children Andrea, Alexander, Andrew and April; grandchildren; nieces and nephews; his mother-in-law Sylvia Thompson; and sister-in-law Beverly Thompson.

Dr. Geesbreght’s family asks, in lieu of flowers, that donations be made to The North Texas Ace Foundation.

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Anna M. Tinsley grew up in a journalism family and has been a reporter for the Star-Telegram since 2001. She has covered the Texas Legislature and politics for more than two decades and has won multiple awards for political reporting, most recently a third place from APME for deadline writing. She is a Baylor University graduate.