Old Lyme - Captain Robert Tracy Getman - It is with heavy hearts that the family of Robert Getman share with the world that he passed away peacefully at the age of 80, at his home with his loving wife, Marilyn (Rubitski) Getman and his devoted family by his side Friday, July 12, 2013, after an extraordinarily courageous and graceful battle with cancer.
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Robert "Bob" was born on Aug. 21, 1932 in Westport, the son of the late Tracy Fayette Getman and Annabelle (Whitney) Getman. The family moved to Ilion, N.Y., where Bob was raised with his younger brother, David, who predeceased him.
It was in Ilion where Bob met and married Diane (Luke) Getman, also of Ilion on Aug. 18, 1956. Bob and Diane enjoyed a full and well-lived life together with their five beautiful children for nearly 50 years until Diane's passing in May 2003. Bob found love again and married Marilyn Rubitski on Nov. 18, 2006.
Bob and Marilyn have lived in Lyme since, and have spent their years together traveling the globe, spending time in their homes in Connecticut and Florida and most important to them, spending time with their children and grandchildren
Captain Getman was a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, in New London, Class of 1954. He began what would become a distinguished 30-year career in the U.S. Coast Guard.
His first tour after graduation was on the Cutter Mackinac, followed by a stint on the French Frigate Shoals Loran. Upon his return, he was assigned to be in instructor at the Officer Candidate School (OCS) at the Coast Guard Academy.
Bob and his young family moved to Cape May, N.J. in 1961, which would become one of the many highlights of his career. He was assigned as the commanding officer (CO) of the Coast Guard Cutter, Agassiz.
In 1963, Bob began his first of two tours at the Coast Guard Headquarters (CGHQ) in Washington, D.C., as chief of personnel procurement. He was responsible for managing the service recruitment programs for the Coast Guard (CG).
In 1968, following an assignment at the U.S. Naval War College, Bob spent two years as executive officer (XO) of the Polar IceBreaker Southwind. During this time he traveled the Arctic and Antarctic, made a seven-month cruise around the world, and crossed every ocean and major geographical coordinate on Earth - one of his most interesting and exciting assignments.
Bob returned to CGHQ in 1970 to the newly created position of deputy chief, office of civil rights. He then spent one year in Yorktown, Va. at the Officer Candidate School as the executive officer and then as chief officer before relocating to Connecticut.
Bob was selected to be the director of admissions at the CGA in 1975, what Bob considered to be a superb finish to his Coast Guard career. It gave him the opportunity to plan and implement the Coast Guard's decision to admit women to the Academy.
In 1984, Bob retired from the Coast Guard after 34 years of service, but he was far from retirement. He spent the next 10 years as executive officer of the State Veterans Home in Rocky Hill. Bob made great strides in turning this 400-bed facility into a positive experience for its veterans. He developed substance abuse treatment programs, educational and vocational training, transitional living, employment assistance and other programs to help return our veterans to productive independent living.
During the course of his 34-year career, Bob was honored with two Meritorious Service Medals, two Coast Guard Commendation Medals, a Coast Guard Unit Commendation, an Antarctic Service medal, an Arctic Service medal and a National Service medal. He accepted all with great appreciation and humility, even when, in 1977, the advisory committee on Antarctic names declared an ice piedmont near the Bowman Coast "The Getman Ice Piedmont," after he served as EO on the USCGC Southwind during U.S. Navy Operation Deep Freeze.
Bob was very active in the community. He served on the Board of Education, the Harbor Management Commission, the Affordable Housing Association of Old Lyme, the Coast Guard Museum, and various veterans' organizations. He was a probation aide and an active parishioner at Christ the King Parish. He developed a number of New London waterfront events and played a significant role in Opsail 2000. After losing Diane to a very rare and often misdiagnosed type of cancer, Bob established the Connecticut Carcinoid Initiative (CCI), a program dedicated to raising the level of awareness of carcinoid cancer among healthcare providers in Connecticut. Bob led the group's members, mostly carcinoid survivors and their caregivers, in efforts ranging from media coverage and symposiums for physicians to a governor's proclamation from former Gov. Rowland.
While his dedication to the country and its people was exceptionally noteworthy, his dedication to his family held center stage in his heart. He was a loyal and loving husband, a proud, supportive and exemplary father, and an always present and adoring grandfather, who found a way to be at every birthday, graduation, sporting event and all the special moments in his grandchildren's lives.
Bob loved to travel, and did so extensively. He loved Seinfeld, and always had a crossword by his side.
He is survived and already so deeply missed by his wife, Marilyn; and his five adoring children and their partners, Ashley and her husband, Donald, of Niantic, Scott and his wife, Anita, of Clinton, Shawn and his wife, Mary, of Collinsville, Chris and his partner, Joe, of Provincetown, Mass., and Kelly and her husband, Bob, of Severna Park, Md.
He is predeceased by his first son, Robert T. II "Bob".
"Poppy" will live on through his biggest fans, his proud grandchildren, Kate and Megan, Kristian and Trevor, Emily, Erin and Brennan and Brian and Josh. Through his marriage with Marilyn, Bob is also survived by his three stepchildren, Beth and her husband, Brett, David and his wife, Liz, Jen and her husband, Jason. Bob was proud to be "Poppy" to their children, Sydney, Davis, Tabatha, Sadie, Grace and Jonah. Bob also leaves behind his brother-in-law, Robert Luke and his wife, Betty, of Ilion, N.Y.; his mother-in-law, Margaret Leathers of Old Lyme; and many loving nieces and nephews. He also leaves a host of friends throughout the country that will always remember him for his generosity, integrity and his wonderful sense of humor!
While his family and friends would trade anything to have kept him here a while longer, the world is a much more beautiful place because of him. Our husband, our dad, our grandfather, our friend, and our hero, he was the most decent, admirable man we've ever known.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 17, 2013, in Christ the King Church, Old Lyme. Interment will follow in Duck River Cemetery. Calling hours will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. and again from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, July 16, 2013, at Fulton-Theroux Funeral Home, 13 Beckwith Lane, Old Lyme.
Please visit fultontherouxoldlyme.com for photos, tributes, directions and more service information.
In lieu of flowers, friends may make a donation to Christ the King Parish, 1 McCurdy Road, Old Lyme, CT 06371, where the Getman family has been parishioners for over 30 years.
Published in The Day on July 13, 2013
Arrangements under the direction of:
Fulton-Theroux Funeral Service
13 Beckwith Ln | Old Lyme, CT 06371 | (860) 443-8355