Let the memory of Owen be with us forever.
  • 62 years old
  • Born on February 27, 1956 .
  • Passed away on November 6, 2018 .

This memorial website was created in memory of Owen Geiger.  Owen dedicated his life to helping people from all over the world to build sustainably. He was an amazing human being, always ready to help, give advice and encourage. Owen helped a lot in Nepal after its  devastating earthquake of 2015. 

Owen was considered to be a world leading expert in Earthbag building, was a licensed building contractor with a Ph.D. in Social and Economic Development. He wrote numerous books and articles on earthbag construction that became ‘bibles’ for natural builders. He also ran one of the largest natural building blogs. He was founder of the Geiger Institute of Sustainable Building, a former Director of Builders Without Borders, and has worked closely with Habitat for Humanity, the United Nations Institute of Training and Research and the U.S.Military Academy at West Point.

You can read more about Owen's life on the LIFE tab above.

Posted by Samy Rebeiz on November 16, 2018
Remembering Owen.

Had it not been for that open gate, at 0:38 min in video here: https://www.forevermissed.com/owen-geiger/#gallery/videos|gallery|video|1092646
I would have probably never met Owen.
My wife was merely driving by his house, one sunny March 2008 afternoon after visiting family and friends. All of a sudden, thru the opened gate in the walled fence was what looked like this guy with a long blonde ponytail! Wait, we’re in Thailand...What are the chances?
Immediately I told my wife “Stop, stop the car, honey, Falang! (that’s: Foreigner, in Thai).” She pulled over to the side of the road. I stepped out and walked towards him.
“Hi” I waived and smiled, “Samy, from Oregon!” . He waived back smiling “Owen, from Colorado!”.
Minutes later, my camera was capturing part of the conversation about his (eye catching trademark) yellow-green Hobbit bell-shaped earthbag root cellar. He had just completed it from mostly recycled scraps, and it still had a gravel floor.
We instantly hit it off with small talk about Thailand, his background and his decision for moving there. Soon the conversation shifted more on sustainable construction, of course :) like so many already know, and how Owen lights up when he talks about things he’s passionate about. He was so compelling and refreshing!
Our eyes were opened wide that day and we easily made our minds up to someday build an earthbag house.
With phone numbers and email addresses exchanged, we became officially friends.
The next day, Owen and Meemee came over for a visit, and he gave us more tips and encouragement.
Over the years we stayed in touch, and, actually came real close to seeing him this August.
Aaaah Owen, we’re gonna miss you very, very much...Nice thing is, you know, you’ll always be here ❤️ :-)
...And yeah, we will see you again...
Posted by Vava Antar on November 13, 2018
We kept corresponding ever since, and i was always happy to hear from Owen, about his Thai food forest, watch his gardening videos and learn a lot (did you know that Owen shared his last name with a tropical tree?:)
We also kept talking on existential topics and i felt like Owen is a rare human who has deep understanding of universal processes and the interconnectedness of all. He was becoming childlike and happy when things were making sense, when everything was in accord and happening, and i felt it was coming from his very subtle, advanced existential experience. He was an old soul, not very comfortable in the constraints of the existing society, so he was always striving to make the world around him a better place, and that very society a happier human race. He was so selflessly happy when the Universe was singing its song... He was the one listening.........and watching ants in his garden walk.................................
Posted by Vava Antar on November 13, 2018
Owen became a dear friend over the last years after Nepal earthquake. We discussed things that were close to both our hearts - existential questions, gardening in the tropics and of course earthbags. It seemed i knew him for many many years though we just met 3 years ago... I still cannot believe how it all started...
... a single email. My husband and i were trekking in Nepal when the quake happened, and saw horrible things while running for life almost without stopping over the course of 2 days from a 4,000 meters high peak. We saw it all: devastation, death, marauders, thirst and hunger, extreme weather conditions, and when we finally got to safety we felt the need to do something to help others in need. Little did we know that this feeling would turn into a massive rebuilding project with radio interviews, government meetings and dozens of homes built!
But here i’m just starting to think how i can help, research possibilities to rebuild a destroyed country, and come across Owen’s blog. I sent him an inspirational email, almost not hoping to hear from this earthbag celebrity...but he responded. The rest is history.
His emails from the very beginning sounded like he was an old friend, like we knew each other, and i knew somehow this was a very special connection that meant something important....
I would have never imagined that we would create a successful project together just a couple of months later, just the two of us in the beginning - no one to help in a foreign country, everybody too busy organizing their disrupted lives after a natural disaster in fear-laden Nepal... it was only later that we met Kateryna and the wonderful team of Good Earth Nepal, but at that moment it was just the two of us, the 2 enthusiasts with no idea what will come out of it but big hopes and trust in existence... When we were just talking with Owen about his possible visit to Nepal to teach builders and engineers how to use earthbags for earthquake-resistant building, I had no idea how we would pull it off but somehow it all started happening! Owen inspired me, gave confidence in myself, the cause and created an electric surge of interest in earthbag building, which eventually led to huge success of the project and hundreds of people coming to his workshops in Nepal. I was observing it as if from aside, like a fairy tale that somehow i became a witness to. And Owen was the Wizard! :-)
Posted by Patricia Knight on November 12, 2018
My thoughts and prayers go out to Owen's family and friends. I only got to know Owen through his blog and his books. May he rest in peace!
Posted by David Reed on November 12, 2018
My first interaction with Owen was back in 2008 I believe, we discussed the possibility of building one of his designs as well as one of Kelly Hart's designs for a unschooling building in Houston Texas. We worked out the details and ended up building the global oval if I remember the name correctly. He was always so interested in my builds and was always happy to help with problems I had concern with. We also discussed the earthbag foundation I built for the only residential pallet house in the US I built on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota., he was always present and very friendly to me. He is missed greatly, I am grateful that we had the opportunity to chat a small bit about 3-4 months ago. Owen you are still a great inspiration for me and countless others. REST IN PEACE MY FRIEND...
Posted by Robin Häggqvist on November 12, 2018
Hey Owen. You certainly made a impression on me. Meeting you was a blast and sorry to hear that it would be the only time. I never got around to build anything but you really inspired me. Walking around your place and see and hear about the things you created was really great.
Posted by Luke Trotman on November 12, 2018
Dr. Owen Geiger was a huge inspiration for me and the natural building community! I met him almost 8 years ago in Colorado where he had come to see a project i was building with some friends. I remember my mentor at the time Scott Howard was so excited to have owen and his good friend Kelly Hart out to see the work! They were so kind and supportive of this younger generation of natural builders! We met again on the other side of the world in Nepal almost 5 years later. I will never forget the day that he came to our project in Mulabari and could not have been more supportive and validating of our work! The importance of elders in this culture is incredibly undervalued! Owen lives on in the vast amount of information he shared with the world and all those who subsequently were able to create a home for themselves out of the earth! Life is limited, do what you love!!!!
Posted by Kishore Jha on November 12, 2018
My first encounter with Dr Owen was after the April 2015 Gorkha earthquake in Nepal, when as the General Secretary of Nepal Engineers' Association, I had invited the Good Earth to make a presentation on earthbag technology at NEA. There I found a bearded man with absolutely saintly personality. His eyes were mysterious and charm while speaking that day was magnetic. After his brief and concise presentation he hurriedly left the premise to catch the flight back home. I did met him during his next visit to Nepal as well but the first impression still hovers my mind. It is really sad that we won't be able to meet him in his physical abode but his works will continue to remind the useful inning he had during this life time.
Posted by Piotr Steranka on November 11, 2018
When devastating earthquake struck Nepal I was looking for ways to help my friends in Gurkha region to rebuild their houses. During my research I come across Owen earthbag technology that was a perfect solution for this kind of effort. I was not fortunate to get to now Owen in person but I have learned about him more from Kateryna and Baris.
He was a great and compassionate human being who put his life in service for others less fortunate and whole his life he tried to help poor people across the globe to rebuilt they homes after natural disasters destroyed them. We will always remember him because of him Kateryna was able to introduce his technology to Nepal and help many people to start new life in new beautiful and strong houses, made of earth..
Rest in peace.
Posted by Titus Prabhu on November 9, 2018
Very sorry and shocking to hear that. As Kateryna mentioned he was extraordinary good in everything especially in helping and motivating others. After a long gap I deeply think of him yesterday more and more but today morning hearing that he is no more. Feel like crying. I quit to consume white sugar because of him only. Like that many things to say......... May his soul RIP
Posted by Ram CB on November 9, 2018
Although I did not get a chance to meet Owen in person, I came to know about him while I joined Good Earth Global. I still remember those days when I used to email him for very basic idea about Earthbag construction time and again(as I was naive about this technology). But he used to answer all my questions very patiently. A few months ago, we were supposed to have skype call for the design of "Hyperadobe horseshoe shape toilet" in India and I was desperate to talk with him. Unfortunately, it did not happen as he liked the design and drawing that we emailed him and there was no necessity for further discussion.
I have read so many articles about Earthbag written by Owen and they are very useful for the people who have an interest in building with earth. He will always be missed... And on my every training after showing his earthbag construction video to the trainees, I will keep on saying as always" the person with the hat and long beard on this video is Owen, the earthbag expert"...
Posted by Erich Burton on November 8, 2018
Owen's legacy is one of the most influential forces of truth that has guided my life throughout my travels. Natural building is an imperative for humans to live in balance with nature, and allows for all people to have comfortable, safe, affordable shelter.
I hope that Owen's work grows to become more understood and sought after more than ever !
I remember taking a weekend earthbag building course with Owen in Nepal at the Osho Temple near Kathmandu. My imagination blown wide open to the possibilities building with earth in an ecologically,socially responsible and resilient way.
I have continued seasonal international natural building projects since and will continue to do so, in part from Owen's influence.
Thank You Owen, and Thank You All for creating this website !
Its important to honor this man and all the goodness he brought to this world.
Posted by Swanaam Saathii on November 9, 2018
Owen one of the greatest friends of Nepal in times of dire need the great earthquake...we will remember his deeds and words till the need n more...we will continue his deeds here in Marxiya Gurukul Kathmandu...Swanaam Saathii
Posted by Fionna Heiton on November 9, 2018
We at First Steps Himalaya will be eternally grateful for all the advice, support and answers to numerous questions that Owen gave freely to us when we were planning our first earthbag building in Nepal. Little did we know that days after completing it, the first of several earthquakes would hit our project area devastating lives and buildings, leaving our earthbag building standing. This led to Owen coming to Nepal as guest speaker at our earthbag building summit which led to hundreds more earthbag buildings across Nepal. Today, First Steps Himalaya has earthbag buildings in 3 villages and more are being planned. Owen played an instrumental role in getting earthbag building accepted as a safe eco friendly building method in Nepal. His passion and commitment made him the special person that he was. We are saddened by his departure from this life. What a massive contribution to natural building methods from one man. Thank you Owen, you will not be forgotten!
Posted by Zana Hart on November 8, 2018
The last time I saw Owen in person was when my husband Kelly and I took him to the airport in Alamosa, Colorado, for the first leg on his long flight to Thailand. Since Kelly and I moved to Mexico for 5 years in 2005, it was either that year or the one before that we said a sad-but-excited goodbye to Owen. We've stayed in close touch with him ever since, as Kelly and Owen have worked together on several websites, with me adding bits at times.

Owen's enthusiasm was such a defining characteristic. He cared so passionately about natural building and our earth. Even though my connections with him have just been via the internet, I've felt close to him all these years.

I just looked through my old emails and found an amusing and characteristic comment from him. I had changed something rather inflammatory that he had posted on naturalbuildingblog.com even though I agreed with it, explaining that Kelly and I still lived in the land of lawsuits. He wrote back (and I'll give him the last word here)

:That's okay, haha. I figured you would.
Posted by Kateryna Zemskova on November 8, 2018
Owen was one of the very few people in my life whom I really admired and will never forget.
I knew him for a short time but he managed to really touch my heart. He was a such a gentle soul and he was so eager to help everyone who asked.
I remember how he was getting excited like a child when things were going good with earthbag approval. He was always so encouraging. He never became skeptical or sarcastic like most of us.
On the very beginning when we just virtually met I asked him ‘can we build in monsoon?’ And he said ‘if there is a will there is a way’. This really encouraged me to keep going. I probably would not do it if he did not give me this answer.
I will always remember him and will miss our communication.
Still hard to believe I will not get an email from him again...
May his soul rest in piece.

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