CUMBERLAND HEAD — William Burnham Getman lost his battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's disease, on Nov. 22, 2012. He took on this disease with dignity and fortitude. He was comforted knowing those he loved the most were with him at all times. All of us who loved Bill felt privileged to care for him and travel with him on this sad and difficult journey.
Bill was born on Halloween Day, 1938, to parents Carl and Helen (Cryan) Getman of Brinkerhoff Street. He graduated from Hebron Academy (High School), Maine and Bucknell University, Pennsylvania where he was a member of the boxing team. After college he joined the United States Marine Corps becoming an officer and a pilot. After he left the Marine Corps he had several interesting jobs before owning and operating Concrete Building Supply in Plattsburgh. Bill worked for the Federal Reserve Bank and Pan American Airlines in San Francisco, he taught English at Saranac Central School and was a counselor at the NYS Department of Corrections at Comstock. In 1973, Bill met Susan Mason of Plattsburgh, they married two years later in Miami, Fla. on Jan. 16, 1975. Sue and Bill resided and raised their two daughters together on Cumberland Head for the next 20 years. Bill felt a connection to upstate New York, he loved this community and the residents who lived here. He was an active board member of both the Area Development Corporation and the Plattsburgh State College Foundation.
While his two girls where in middle and high school he was known to never miss a sporting event. He would often be seen skiing at Whiteface Mountain, hiking the Adirondack Mountains and biking around Cumberland Head. He loved to wake up early in the morning and swim in Lake Champlain after a long run. Both Bill and Sue ran over a dozen marathons. During their time together they traveled to many Caribbean islands to scuba dive. After he retired, Bill and Sue headed to Park City, Utah every winter where he spent most of his days skiing the Wasatch Mountains. Throughout his life he earned his private pilots license as well as his glider license. And at age 72 he obtained his motorcycle license.
Bill is survived by his wife of 37 years Susan Mason Getman, his daughters Sarah Getman and Rebecca Larkin and her husband Kevin Larkin. His young grandchildren, Eli William Larkin and Georgianna Mary Larkin brought him the most joy in his last days with their endless hugs and kisses and laughter. He felt lucky to have them around almost daily.
He is also survived by his four sisters, Mary Sue Getman, Carol Bedore and her husband Don, Jackie Lewis and Margot Getman; as well as several nieces and nephews. He also has a loving extended family on his wife's side.
We are greatly indebted to our team of compassionate, efficient VA Home Based Primary Care professionals, Karen Grundwald, Jill Folsom and Amy Rugar. They helped make our time with Bill as good and calm as it could be. They brought peace and grace into our home. We appreciate the endless hours and the high caliber of professionalism they gave us. We also thank Elaine Bruso our home health aid and our two nurses Jessica King and Danny Curtin who made sure Bill was content and well cared for. Our days would not have been as rich if it were not for our devoted friends who worked tirelessly trying to keep our family happy with their gentle care, great food, cleaning, errand running, flowers, conversation and humor- but most of all their love. You know who you are, we love you.
While Bill was a private person by nature, he very much loved his friends and family. He will be remembered as a loving supportive husband and father. He placed value in honesty, hard work and humanity and he carried those values with him as he surrendered to ALS.
Memorial donations made be made to The ALS Association, Upstate NY Chapter, 890 North Street, Suite 108, Liverpool NY, 13088, or the local Salvation Army
Calling hours will be from 3 to 6 p.m. on Monday Nov. 26, from at the R. W. Walker Funeral Home in Plattsburgh. There will be no services. Arrangements are in the care of the R. W. Walker Funeral Home 69 Court St. Plattsburgh, N.Y.
Online condolences may be made to www.rwwalkerfh.com