Our beloved Henry Nathanael Gettinger, 89, graduated to glory on Feb. 10, 2013. He was born on Oct. 23, 1923, in Merom, Ind., to Henry and Helen Gettinger.
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He is survived by his wife, Mary; brother, Paul, and his children, Denny, and wife Kathie Gettinger; Kathleen, and husband, Mark Hampton; Sharon Gettinger; Tamara, and husband, Dennis Manning. He is also survived by 15 grandchildren, their spouses, and 29 great-grandchildren and counting.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife, Patricia Douglass; his daughter, Sandi Lou Dunn; and his sister, Peggy Olson.
Henry joined the U.S. Air Force, 10th Rescue Squadron, as a rotary wing mechanic in 1946, which brought him to Fairbanks. He married Patricia Douglass in 1947.
He received a World War II Victory Medal and was honorably discharged in 1949. He graduated in three years with honors from UAF with a bachelor's degree in agriculture in 1952.
He and Patricia homesteaded land off Chena Hot Springs Road in 1954. He was a potato farmer for 35 years, followed by hay farming. He received the "Farmer of the Year" award in 1957, and received many other awards during his farming years, including Soil Conservation Award by The National Wildlife Federation and Skinners for outstanding contributions to the wise use and management of the nation's natural resources.
He was on the first Board of Directors of the Alaska Association of Soil Conservation Subdistricts in 1966. He was involved in Alaska Conservation Service for 40 years. He served continually on the Fairbanks Soil and Water Conservation Board for approximately 38 years and was chairman for 30 plus years. He was given the Award of Merit for Outstanding Accomplishments in Resource Conservation in the years 1985, 1988, 1992 and 1999.
His wife, Patricia, graduated to be with her heavenly father in 1995.
For many years, he spent the coldest months of Fairbanks wintering in Hawaii. His favorite leisure activities were square dancing, ballroom dancing, playing cards, shopping and eating ice cream.
He married his second wife, Mary, in 1996, and continued farming for many more years.
He was full of life and will be remembered for his heart to feed Alaska with potatoes, his optimism, his great smile and laugh, his welcoming personality, his hugs and handshakes and his spinning of the women at the Pioneers Home.
He will be missed by all who loved him dearly and were blessed by his life and his contributions to the community.
A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, at Door of Hope Church, 270 Fairhill Road. Please bring finger foods to share.
In lieu of flowers, any donations can by made in Henry's name to the Alzheimer's Resource of Alaska, 565 University Ave., Ste. 2, Fairbanks, AK 99709; or the Autism Society of Alaska, 607 Old Steese Hwy., Ste. B, No. 285, Fairbanks, AK 99701.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Chapel of Chimes Funeral Home.
Published in Daily News-Miner on Feb. 17, 2013