Russell E. Gettemy, 99, passed away Tuesday, April 19, 2022. A man’s life is measured in years, but a better scale would weigh his measure of devotion, and Russell E. Gettemy surely gave his fullest measure of devotion throughout his life: to God, country, family and friends. Born Jan. 25, 1923, in South Greensburg, he was proud to be a Hufftown boy. He spent his youth in pursuit of fun and friendship, picking up the nickname “Pokey.” He always had time to carouse and stir up trouble. When his country called in the world’s hour of need, he proudly took his place, joining the ranks of the Navy to fight with the Greatest Generation. Valiant and ever brave, he served as a gunner aboard the U.S.S. Franklin in World War II. He rarely spoke of his time aboard ship, but when he did, he never spoke of his own contributions, but instead, he spoke of the brave acts of his brothers-in-arms. And when the war was over, he was swept away by his love for Sara, who became his wife, his beloved Sally. He always testified that she saved him. Together they built their own nest, raising their children. He worked and retired from Robertshaw Corp. and served at Christ Church. They lived a happy life, where their dance moves had people clearing the floor and their infectious laughter brought happiness to countless others. Big R’s devilish grin charmed everyone he ever met, and his feisty nature demanded deep affection and commanded fierce loyalty. He made friends out of strangers and spent cheerful hours with favorite pastimes: golf, long drives (later resulting in attempts at grand theft auto after age took away his keys!) and his favorite pastime of all, watching life move all around him from the comfort of his porch (otherwise known as nosy-neighbor snooping). He was amazed at how quickly life moved (“Things change!”) and always happy to see his family and friends. His eyes would light in recognition of a loved one, he grinned, and his hands would lift to welcome them for a chat. “I’ve been thinking of you!” he would say, and it always rang true, because he would ruminate daily on his loved ones. Oftentimes, he was irreverent and cantankerous. He felt a certain rambunctious joy flipping “the bird” and teasing endlessly. He lived 99 years, two months and 25 days on this earth, and according to those closest to him, those years weren’t quite enough. He passed into Paradise peacefully, Tuesday, April 19, 2022, surrounded by loved ones, prayers, tears and laughter. He was greeted and ushered into Heaven by his wife, Sally; his daughter, Gigi; his great-grandson, Alex; his mother and father, George and Essie; and his siblings, Francis, Calvin and Margaret. He will be greatly missed by his sons, Matthew and Robert (Iris); by his grandchildren, Gwen (George), Sara (David), Joshua (Heather), Tara, Danielle, Margaret and Alaina; by his great-grandsons, Collin and Landon; by his special neighbor and adopted daughter, Kim (Brent); and by the many other friends and family whose lives he touched. Life is changed, not ended, and he goes to that place that has been prepared for him in the heavens. We know that at that Table, where death is no more, Granddad waits for us, to share a cookie, a cup of coffee with hazelnut cream and a truly fantastic game of gin-rummy, where he’ll beat the pants off everyone. We love you, and your legacy of devotion will live on, until we meet again. Friends will be received for visitation from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., with the service beginning at 1:30 p.m., Monday, May 9, 2022, at Christ Church at 145 N. Main St., Greensburg. Committal at St. Clair Cemetery will directly follow the service. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alexander Moreland Memorial Scholarship Fund by going online to pittsburghfoundation.org/donate and entering Alexander Moreland in the search bar, or by mailing a check made out to the Pittsburgh Foundation (include Alexander Moreland Memorial Scholarship Fund in the memo field), and mail to the Pittsburgh Foundation, Five PPG Place, Suite 250, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.
Published by Tribune Review on May 8, 2022.