I've recently learned that you truly can die of a broken heart.
My Grandpa has passed on to be with my Grandma, who we lost just two short months ago.
Arthur Gordon Getchman
June 24, 1934 — April 21, 2017
My heart feels broken and empty; I hardly know who I am anymore in a world without them.
Grandpa was one of the most amazing men I have ever had the privilege of knowing. Always by Grandma's side, they have been a part of my daily life since the day I was born.
|Art R. Getchman, Art G. Getchman, Art K. Getchman, and baby Sarah Getchman.|
He was born in Port Townsend, Washington where we continued to spend family holidays for all of my life.
|With Grandpa at the beach in Port Townsend.|
As a young adult, he served in the Navy for several years before becoming a student teacher at North Thurston High School, my alma mater. During that time, he served as Vice Principal of North Thurston High School, Principal of Timberline High School, Principal of Nisqually Middle School, and as an administrator at the District Office. His compassion, patience, and sense of humor positively impacted the lives of uncountable students throughout the course of his career. He received numerous awards, including Teacher of the Year and Middle School Principal of the Year. The effects of his selfless passion and dedication to educating and encouraging the young people of Thurston County can be seen in our community to this day.
Grandpa was active in the Lacey Rotary International chapter for many years, serving as a past President, Paul Harris Fellow, and in 2005 receiving the C. "Dale" Ferrier Vocational Service Award. He loved participating in Rotary events like the annual Duck Dash at Tumwater Falls, one of my very favorites as a child. He served on the Board of Commissioners for the South Bay Fire District from 1979 to 2015, and was very involved in fire department and fire district activities. Grandpa and Grandma were active members of Gull Harbor Lutheran Church, and you would often find Grandpa mowing the church lawn and helping host the annual Sausage Fest. In 2002, Kiwanis International named him the Thurston County Citizen of the year due to his extensive involvement in the community.
Clearly, Art Getchman was an amazing member of the community where he lived and worked.
But to me, he was just Grandpa.
He loved spending time with family.
He and Grandma were always at all of our sporting events and activities, and continued to support local sports teams even after we were all grown up. He loved brewing his own beer, fishing, shrimping and crabbing, dancing and singing, and antique cars. He was always taking us for some kind of ride or another. Row boat rides, tractor rides, wagon rides, fishing boat rides where we'd pull crab pots in the Hood Canal, rides in his El Camino or antique Model A Ford where we always fought for a turn in the "rumble seat." He served barbecued meat at family dinners, and sometimes even fish he had caught or pheasant that he had hunted himself... usually with most of the buckshot removed. He always carved the turkey at the beginning of a holiday meal, after saying grace and sometimes telling an off-color joke.
All of my holidays from now on will have a gaping hole without his presence.
One of the last times I spent time with him, I'll never forget how he just stood there quietly petting Kiley's sweet little newborn head. As he stroked her lovingly, he quietly explained to me about all the bones in the human skull, and how I needed to be extra careful with her tiny little head.
I will, Grandpa. I promise.
I'm so thankful that my Grandpa got to be a part of my children's lives, if only for a short while...
After the horrible shock of losing my Grandma, the loss of my Grandpa is almost more than I can bear. Wherever they are, I hope that they're together. I find comfort in the thought that after more than 60 years together, they really did love each other so much that they couldn't live without each other.
This is a photo of the last time that we were all together. The picture isn't perfect, because families aren't perfect, and people aren't perfect.
But this man, my Grandpa... I think he just might have been perfect.
The world is a darker place without his joy, kindness, and sense of humor. I have learned so much from him, and he is an example of the person I hope to become.
Grandpa, I'll miss you so much. It was an honor to know and love you.
"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."