HOLLIS - Kenneth Whisnant Gettys was born on March 13, 1933, to Zeno and Vera Gettys in Hollis.
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He attended Hollis Grammar and Sunshine High School. Kenneth served in the United States Army from 1950-1958, completing two tours in Korea during the Korean Conflict, for which he received a Purple Heart. He was honorably discharged at Fort Campbell, Ky., as an SFC. Kenneth was a gifted crane operator and was employed by Fluor Daniel for much of his working career.
Kenneth is survived by his wife, Polly Crnko Gettys; and their three children, Maggie Hamm and husband Steve of Conover, Christine Hull and husband Barry of Whispering Pines, and Michael Gettys and wife Merie Margaret of Hollis. He is also survived by a son from a previous marriage, Kenneth Wayne Gettys of Kentucky.
Kenneth's legacy continues through the lives of eight exceptional grandchildren, Kendall Ross Hamm (20) a Cadet in his Junior year at the United States Military Academy at West Point, Ryan Sean Hull (18) a student wrestler and ROTC Cadet at Gardner Webb University, Rachael Sarah Hamm (17) a Senior at Newton Conover High School, Daniel Gettys Hull (15) a Sophomore at Union Pines High School, Aaron Nicholas Hamm (14) a Freshman at Newton-Conover High School, Shelby Elizabeth Hull (11), Madison Elizabeth Gettys (5), and Emmalyn Grace Gettys (3).
He is also survived by his brothers, Howard Gettys and wife Mona, Emmett Gettys and wife Louise, and Jeff Gettys; and his sister, Francis Bailey and husband Palmer.
Kenneth was preceded in death by his parents, Zeno and Vera Gettys; his brother Henry Gettys; and granddaughter Meredith Rebecca Hull.
Kenneth and Polly lived in Hollis, where he was an avid farmer, growing a variety of crops and livestock. As a lifelong member of Big Springs Baptist Church, he was an active member of the brotherhood. Kenneth succumbed to lung cancer on Jan. 18, 2014.
Visitation: The family will receive friends from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at Washburn & Dorsey Funeral and Cremation Service.
Funeral service: 1 p.m. Saturday at Big Springs Baptist Church
Officiated by: The Revs. Paul Scott, Joe Edwards, and Clyde Kerley
Burial: Will follow in the church cemetery with full Military Rites provided by the Rutherford County Honor Guard.
Funeral home: Washburn & Dorsey Funeral and Cremation Service is serving the family.
Memorials: May be made to Big Springs Baptist Church Brotherhood, or the Big Springs Baptist Backpack Program, 534 Big Springs Church Road, Ellenboro, NC 28040.
Online condolences: www.washburndorsey.com
Published in Shelby Star on Jan. 22, 2014