Rev. Dr. James N. GETTEMY
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GETTEMY, Rev. Dr. James N.

Rev. Dr. James N. Gettemy, 93, former president of Hartford Seminary, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on June 27, 2013. He was born on October 19, 1919, to S. Schaffer and Emma Wilson Gettemy in Greensburg, PA. Following graduation from Union Theological Seminary in NYC, Dr. Gettemy went to the Garden City Community Church on Long Island. During his ministry, the church grew from 100 to 3000 members. He was called to be President of Hartford Seminary in 1958. During his 18 years tenure, the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies became internationally recognized for its Christian-Muslim dialogue. Although the seminary faced many challenges in the 1960s and 1970s, his leadership allowed the seminary to remain in Hartford. In 1976, he became Pastor of Seabreeze UCC in Daytona Beach, FL. After retiring in 1987, he returned to the Garden City Church as Interim Senior Pastor. Dr. Gettemy is survived by his wife Helen, of 67 years. They had four daughters, Kathleen and Christine, who are with God, and Jessica and Sara, who survive him. He is also survived by six grandchildren; J. Jacob Lecce, Nora J. Lecce, Emily K. Porter, Benjamin N. Porter, Megan E. Porter, and Samuel G. Worcester.
A Memorial Service will be held on Sunday, July 14 at 3 p.m. at The Federated Church, 162 Main Street, East Orleans, MA. In lieu of flowers, the family requests any donation be made to the James N. Gettemy Memorial Scholarship Fund, Hartford Seminary, 77 Sherman Street, Hartford, CT 06105 ( For online condolences, please visit

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Published in Hartford Courant on Jun. 29, 2013.
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13 entries
June 22, 2020
It was sixty plus years ago, but my abiding memory of Jim Gettemy is that of a joyful person. That was probably a public persona, but a very welcomed one. I experienced him as always approachable, a good listener, an accepting person. Always interested with whomever he was in contact.
I think Jim would have been fascinated by the way my life, my ministry, evolved. While Jim was president of Hartford Seminary Foundation, Barbara and I were sent to Japan for a one-year internship. We returned to Hartford for my senior year by traveling the rest of the way around the world, visiting mission stations in sixteen different nations. We happened to be in Berlin when the Wall went up in 1961--and back again in
1989 when it came tumbling down.
Following my graduation, I was chosen to start a new congregation from scratch in the Seattle area, got involved in conference ministry and was CEO for churches in California, Michigan and the state of Washington. Barbara and I had three sons and four grands each of whom we're very proud. In my first failed retirement, I served as interim pastor of congregations in Paris, Bali, Vienna, Strasbourg, Hawaii and Berlin.
Barbara pre-deceased me in 2016 at the age of 80. Cancer of the mouth. Her death was the biggest surprise of my life--and I've had quite a few. The the saddest of them all.
Now, as I attempt to catch up to Jim's 93 years--I'm currently 84--I'm doubtful I'll ever be his equal in any way.
But I'm grateful to him and Helen for being a part of a whole host of saints who prepared me and sent me on my way into a glorious life. Thank you, Jim Gettemy!
john rogers
July 6, 2013
Dear Helen and Family,
I know that you will have no idea who I am, but rest assured that I have received a lifetime of blessing from
Dr. Gettemy's leadership at HSF.
I brought my bride to Hartford and we had out first son in Hartford hospital.
I owe a great debt to my experience at HSF and Dr. Gettemy held things together when the perish ministry was in doubt.
Joel Rickenbach
July 2, 2013
I know God has made a very special place for a very special man. Love and condolences to the family. Jim Carol
Carol Jim Renfroe Branch
July 1, 2013
Dear Helen, Sara, Bill & Sam: We just learned of your great loss and send our love & deepest sympathy. We were blessed to visit with Rev. Jim at a nursing home in Orleans, MA when he shared with us some treasured family memories. He rallied from that confinement as he did from succeeding others until now. We are also sorry not to be able to attend his Memorial Service at Duncaster...we are involved Tuesday with events at the AGO Convention in Hartford. But we will think of you all at 11AM and send prayers. Peace, John & Joanne
Joanne Coghill
July 1, 2013
Hi Helen and Family,
Helen, you & Jim, Barbara & I arrived at HSF at the same time. You outlasted us -- I graduated and was ordained in 1962. We've always been grateful for your modeling for us a positive style of ecclesiastical leadership. With you, we'll miss Jim. Our thoughts are with you. Blessings.
John Rogers
June 30, 2013
Sara and family:

Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.
Connie and Ron Robnson
Connie Robinson
June 30, 2013
Jim loved the Garden City Community Church congregation and we loved him. He was a great pastor! He, Helen and the rest of his family are in our prayers. Henry and Janet von Wodtke
June 30, 2013
I am deeply sorry for your loss. My love to Sara,Bill, Sam and the whole Gettemy family. May the memories you shared and the love you felt help you to find peace in the days to come.
PiperAnne Worcester
June 29, 2013
My deepest sympathies to Mrs. Gettemy, Pastor Sara, Bill, Sam and all of this loving family. Rev Gettemy was a servant of God who will be greatly missed, but the fondest memories will remain with us all. May God Almighty grant you all love peace.
Carmen Rincon
June 29, 2013
I'm sorry for your loss. May God give you and your family peace in your time of sorrow.

Ms Porter
June 29, 2013
Our sincerest condolences to the Gettemy family.
BrightStar of Hartford
Team of Nurses, caregivers and staff
Heidi and Bob Partain
June 29, 2013
Michele Marin
June 29, 2013
Michele Marin
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