Judge James S. Getty Sr., 96, of Cumberland, died Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017.
Born March 7, 1921, in Lonaconing, he was the son of the late Dr. Gorman E. Getty Sr. and Verna (Schuyler) Getty. Judge Getty was preceded in death by his first wife, Betty Glover Getty, his brothers, Gorman Eugene and John O. (Jack) Getty and their wives, Josephine and Jean, as well as his son, James S. Getty Jr. He was also predeceased by his niece, Jean (Dee) Kiemle, and nephew, John G. Getty.
Surviving are his wife of 18 years, Carol Fritz Getty; son, Gregory H. Getty and wife, Ann; daughter-in-law, Margaret Getty and companion, Michael Finn; his stepchildren, Linda Margo, Laura Potter (Jeff), Ted Fritz (Rikke) and their children. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Daphanie Jenkins (Jay), Stephanie Robison (Shannon), Meghan Whitt (Zachary) Morghan Getty, and his "adopted" granddaughter, Clarisse Goulart of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Surviving great-grandchildren include Schuyler Howell, Tawney and Sawyer Jenkins and Eden Robison. Additionally, he leaves behind nephews, Gorman (Mike) Getty (Lynn) and Jeffrey Getty (Kathy); niece, Reba Niland (Jim) and their respective families, along with the families of Dee Kiemle (Fred) and John Getty.
Judge Getty is a graduate of Potomac State College (1941) and the University of Maryland School of Law (1947). Between Potomac State and law school, he served in the U.S. Army in military intelligence. His favorite "war story" was meeting Sir Winston Churchill while serving in Richmond, Va.
His all-time hero was Lefty Grove. In Lefty's later years, Judge Getty would take him to various speaking engagements, including the annual Dapper Dan Awards Banquet. While Lefty was always on the program to speak, he would frequently defer to Judge Getty with the comment, "I did the pitchin', you do the speakin'." The Judge was an avid supporter of the Lefty Grove Statue Project with the goal of bringing recognition both to Lefty and his hometown community of Lonaconing.
Following law school, Judge Getty began a part-time law practice and managed the social security office for six years. In 1953, he was employed as Assistant State's Attorney for Allegany County. He became State's Attorney in 1958. He took the oath of office as Judge of the Allegany County Circuit Court on March 17, 1965, and served in that capacity for 12 years. In 1983, he was appointed by Gov. Harry Hughes to serve on the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. Judge Getty officially retired from the bench in 1985; however, he continued serving as a 'retired judge' until 2010. He wrote his final opinion at the age of 90.
Judge Getty often related that his most satisfying case was one in which he was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court after being unanimously reversed by Maryland's Highest Appellate Court. The Supreme Court reinstated his ruling by a 6-3 vote.
While the practice of law was the Judge's passion, his family was his life blood. He was very much involved in the lives of his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews. It has long been the habit of the Getty family to assemble for family birthday celebrations and holidays and to spend time together at their shared home in Stone Harbor, N.J. During those occasions, he very much enjoyed his role as patriarch. While known as 'Jim' or 'Judge' to friends and the community-at-large, he was known as 'Pop' to his grandchildren and 'Boo' to his nieces and nephews.
Despite failing health in recent years, he maintained his sharp wit and a keen sense of humor. There wasn't much he enjoyed more than a good tête-a-tête, the opportunities for which were greatly diminished following the passing of his dear friend and golfing companion, Mort Peskin.
Judge Getty was a long-standing member of Centre Street United Methodist Church where he served on various boards and committees over the years.
Family and friends will be received on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Wilhelm-Eakin Funeral Home, P.A., Lonaconing.
Services will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, at 11 a.m. at Centre Street United Methodist Church, Cumberland, with the Rev. Thomas E. Young Jr. officiating. Family and friends will be received one hour prior to the service from 10 to 11 a.m.
Interment will be held privately at Frostburg Memorial Park, Frostburg.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his name may be made to a favorite charity of your choice or to the Lefty Grove Statue Committee at CTF Lefty Grove Statue Project, 71 Baltimore St., Cumberland, MD 21502.
The family would like to offer their gratitude to the staff of the Allegany Health, Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Reba Niland and Fred Kiemle for their wonderful care, attention and love.