And so, it seems, he couldn’t wait to join his wife. Our father, Gustav “Gus” Getter, died 10/18/2020, age 94.
Gus was born in Brooklyn, the second son to Manya “Minnie” Girsh and Joseph Getter, both Russian immigrants. During the WWII he begged Minnie to allow him to sign up a year early. He enlisted with the US Navy and was sent to Brown University to be trained as an Apprentice Seaman (officer training – graduated in 3 years, Sigma Xi Honor Society.) He desperately wanted to be a Naval fly-boy. If you knew Gus you knew ‘that story’ where he traded his ‘leave pass’ and snuck onto a fighter plane on a training flight. It didn’t go well. It involved a paper bag. And even that went from bad to worse. But as he told it, it was hysterical. He earned a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn and Tau Beta Pi, Engineering Honors.
Our father was an inscrutable man. He was proud of his years of service in the Navy, Seabee – Construction Battalion. In the 1950’s as a junior officer in Port Hueneme, CA, he saw injustice and desegregated his unit assigning all seamen to the same barracks with equal responsibilities. He took risks, and in a story rather Mission Impossible in its scope, he borrowed an office space, then furnished and ‘volunteer’ staffed it over the course of a weekend to secure a contract that started his own engineering firm. He believed in what he could accomplish and didn’t let obstacles get in his way.
Gus’s engineering firm, which through a variety of partners and mergers, always bore his name, created internationally recognized and award-winning designs. The one which he was most proud of, and which continues to be in use by the US Navy and other armed forces, in several locations to this date, is named the Hush House: A building in which one can park a jet and turn it on in order to test it, while keeping the outside quiet and clean from exhaust and sound pollutants. Despite having sold the last iteration of his firm, Getter, Segner and Gironda, to Sverdrup Corporation, and having retired, Gus continued to remain available to answer any questions from those who continued to seek his advice. And, as his daughter, it never ceased to amaze me, that there were those who continued to call and discuss their problems up until his death.
Gus was mostly all work, but not quite. He skied through his 80s! He was a fantastic ballroom dance lead. He was a Member of the Temple Israel Brotherhood and volunteered for the United Way for years soliciting donations or items for their silent auction.
Gus was absolutely devoted to the love of his life, Ruth Groten. He met Ruth when he was 17 and she was 14. His family moved into her apt. bldg. in Brooklyn. For him it was love at first sight. They shared the same birthday, 3 years apart. Their first date was in celebration of their shared birthdays. She had to make her way through HS and college before they fully settled with each other, but from that point they have been together with, apparently, even death not being able to separate them.
Graveside service Monday, 10/19 Sharon Gardens Cemetery @ 11:15am