Marty at Josh's wedding
Martin Elmer Getty
  • 63 years old
  • Date of birth: Jun 13, 1950
  • Place of birth:
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Date of passing: Feb 26, 2014
  • Place of passing:
    Decatur, Illinois, United States
Marty - Our joys are greater. Our love is deeper. Our lives are fuller, because we shared your moment in life.

This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Martin Getty, who passed away from blilary cancer at 3:26 p.m. on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 in his home, with daughter Emily and wife Lorraine by his side. 

Martin was born to the late Elmer George and Angeline (Zalfini) Getty on June 13, 1950 in Pittsburgh, PA.  Martin married Lorraine (Callender) Romesser on July 28, 1978 in Urbana, IL.  She survives.  His children – son Joshua Paul Getty (wife deRicci) of Bethel Park, PA, daughters Emily Lynn Getty of Decatur and Jennifer Ellen Getty of Denver, CO – also survive.  Others left to cherish Martin’s memory include his sister Sandra Lee Marquette (husband William) of Pittsburgh, PA; uncle Albert Fiore Zalfini of St. Petersburg, FL; numerous cousins, nieces, nephews; and loving in-laws.

He was preceded in death by his parents and grandfather, Gaspare Zalfini, who at the age of nineteen immigrated to the United States from Calabria, Italy, on his own and with nothing but the dream of a better life.  Martin was proud of his Italian heritage and admired the example set forth by his grandfather – establishing a foothold in a new country, learning a new language, serving in the United States armed forces during World War I, and earning American citizenship through determination and study.

Martin graduated from West Mifflin South High School in Pittsburgh and received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Mathematics and a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education from the University of Pittsburgh.  He later earned the Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration from the University of Illinoisand the endorsement of Chief School Business Official through Western Illinois University.

Service to country was important to Martin.  Upon completion of the ROTC program during his undergraduate studies, he earned the Distinguished Military Graduate Award.  He subsequently served for nine years as an officer in the Army Reserves, stationed inTerre Haute, IN, rising to the rank of Major. 

Martin valued the importance of education and enjoyed helping people.  These interests guided his career path into the arena of public schools throughout the state of Illinois, where he held varying positions: math and business teacher at Franklin Junior High in Champaign (1973 - 1977); Principal and Coach of girls’ track and basketball of Scottland Junior High/Chrisman Grade School (1977-1983); Superintendent of Palestine School District (1983-1987), Lewistown Community High School District (1987-1990) and Watseka School District (1990-2000).  In 2000 Martin was named Director of Business Affairs and Treasurer for Decatur Public Schools, the position in which he served until his retirement in 2007.   He later served briefly as interim Business Director for the Normal School District. 

Although most of his career was spent as an administrator, he considered himself a teacher first.  His personal goal was to help educate children by providing the framework from which his fellow teachers could succeed in the classroom, while supporting the efforts of all other staff members and community partners in the process.

Through the course of his professional life, Martin sought new challenges and never stopped furthering his knowledge.  He maintained memberships in several professional organizations, including: Illinois Association of School Administrators, Illinois Association of School Business Officials, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development,UniversityofIllinois Educational Administration Alumni   Association, and Phi Delta Kappa.  In addition, he participated in the local service organizations active in the various communities in which he resided: Rotary, Lions Club, Jaycees, Kiwanis, and the Watseka Chamber of Commerce.  Martin was a member of the First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Decatur, most recently serving on the church’s Finance Committee. 

Martin – Marty to many friends – enjoyed traveling, playing golf and poker, and spending time with friends and family.  Always a Steelers fan, he also closely followed collegiate sports, especially the Fighting Illini and Pitt Panthers.  His knowledge of classic rock music history was unparalleled, and although he would be the first to admit he was no artist, he could sketch a perfect likeness of Fred Flintstone.  He will be remembered for his easy-going nature and warm sense of humor.  He was also a man of principles, a good listener, a mentor, a friend’s friend, a first-rate Trivial Pursuit partner, a loving husband and caring father.  

The family wishes to express their gratitude to the staff of Cancer Care Specialists of Decatur and to hospice nurses Angie and Diane for the care he received during the past year.

Visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, March 3  at Graceland/Fairlawn Funeral Home, 2091 North Oakland Ave., Decatur, IL.  Services to celebrate Martin’s life will be 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 4 in the chapel at the funeral home.  The family will receive visitors an hour preceding the service.  Private family entombment will be held in Graceland Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to the charity or school district foundation of the giver’s choice. 

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Emily Getty on 26th February 2017

"Love and miss you every day, Daddy ❤"

This tribute was added by Lorraine Getty on 28th July 2016

"Happy 38th Anniversary from your Rosebud."

This tribute was added by Sandra Getty Marquette on 13th June 2016

"Marty, Happy Birthday in Heaven.  I love you and miss you very much."

This tribute was added by Alan Zuber on 2nd March 2016

"I saw the note about the anniversary of Marty's death and can still vividly see his smile. I am getting ready to "shuffle the pasteboards" with the Edgar County group tonight we always remember him by playing one of "his" games."

This tribute was added by Lorraine Getty on 26th February 2016

"Missing my best friend and favorite person.  It still doesn't seem right (or real) that you are no longer here.  Memories pale in comparison."

This tribute was added by Albert Zalfini on 26th February 2016

"marty: as always you enter my thoughts,your presence is always felt here at my home. yours' was a life interrupted that is our loss for you were our strength,guidance and generosity always family strong. I miss you so much. love uncle albert"

This tribute was added by Sandra Getty Marquette on 26th February 2016

"Today, 2 years ago, part of my heart went with you to Heaven. My heart will never be complete until I am with you, Mommy, Daddy and all of our family members that are with you.  I miss you very much.  
Love, Sandra"

This tribute was added by Emily Getty on 14th June 2015

"Happy birthday, Dad. I miss you ❤️"

This tribute was added by Sandra Getty Marquette on 26th February 2015

"Marty, my little brother.  Today is a very sad day for me.  It is one year since you went to Heaven.  My heart is heavy but I must remember the suffering you went through and now, one year later as last year on this day, there is no more pain and you have found peace, love and joy in the arms of Jesus and being with our Mother, Father and all of our loved ones in Heaven.  I have loving memories of our years together of all the happy times we shared.  I miss your smiling face, your  laughter and your hugs.  I love you very much.  Sandra"

This tribute was added by Albert Zalfini on 26th February 2015

"dear marty; on this day my memories of you are as always. I think of you constantly and miss you terribly. I can never forget our times together and the love and contributions you have given your family.  my  deepest love.  uncle albert"

This tribute was added by carol dixon on 26th February 2015

"Marty, a.k.a. cousin Eddie, Life has certainly been a lot less fun without you in it. You are deeply missed by us all.Carol and Mike"

This tribute was added by Lorraine Getty on 15th June 2014

"Happy Birthday and Father's Day - wish you were with us to enjoy them"

This tribute was added by Michael Bashista on 13th June 2014

"Marty was a fraternity brother at the Univ. of Pittsburgh. I recall him always reminding the social chair of the fraternity to have "pop" at the bar. I will always remember his sense of humor and laughter."

This tribute was added by Rita Hoult on 13th June 2014

"Lorraine & family - thinking of you - and remembering Martin - especially on his birthday.  You are in our thoughts often.  Sending our love - from the Hoult family,"

This tribute was added by Carla Brinkoetter on 13th June 2014

"Lifting you all up in prayer."

This tribute was added by Lorraine Getty on 22nd March 2014

"Lit a candle in memory of Martin Elmer "Marty" Getty

Deb Allen"

This tribute was added by Lorraine Getty on 22nd March 2014

"Marty came to Unit 5 to fill in as our Financial Director for a short while (to short we loved him)while the position was being filled. In that time our whole unit was so impressed with his knowledge, sense of humor and appreciation for all of us. We tried to talk him into filling the position but he just smiled and said it was time to retire. I'm so sorry he didn't get to do all the things he wanted to do, but I will remember him always as one of the best people I have ever worked under. I'm very sorry for your loss.

Judy Marshall"

This tribute was added by Lorraine Getty on 22nd March 2014

"The best neighbors that neighbors could ask for, never forget the voice, hey Kev, whatcha grillin ! Miss that and will never forget the memories. God bless !

Kevin - Pamela Verkler"

This tribute was added by Lorraine Getty on 22nd March 2014

"Martin Getty was a role model. He hired and mentored me as a principal. He was honest with me when I needed it and kind and encouraging when I needed it. When I replaced him as the superintendent, he was always positive and ready to help when I asked. He was sensitive to my need to find my own way; careful not to interfere, but very helpful in a number of situations. I know he wanted me and the Watseka School District to be successful. I really appreciate what he did for me. I've tried to do the same things with the people I have had the chance to mentor. I have tried to follow Mr. Getty's example.

Steve Bianchetta"

This tribute was added by Lorraine Getty on 22nd March 2014

"Lorraine, my dear, dear friend, I was so sorry to hear of Marty's death. You and your family are in my thoughts, now and always. May all of you go from strength to strength.

Judy Tilton"

This tribute was added by Lorraine Getty on 22nd March 2014

"Worked with Martin for the years he was Superintendent at Watseka as the school auditor. I respected him a great deal. He always was trying to do what was best for the school district and the students. Will miss him.

Sherilyn Rabideau"

This tribute was added by Lorraine Getty on 22nd March 2014

"Mr. Getty was my principal and junior high basketball coach. He pushed us to do our best. I am thankful he is a Christian and leaves behind a positive legacy. May the Lord hold you through the sorrow until you meet again.

Debbie Hess"

This tribute was added by Lorraine Getty on 22nd March 2014

I had the pleasure of working with Marty at Chrisman-Scotland Schools when he was principal here. He had a wonderful sense of humor. He always had a new joke for Tom Hawkins and I. Marilyn and I will keep you and the girls in our prayers.

George Fischer"

This tribute was added by Lorraine Getty on 22nd March 2014

"Never really knew my cousin Marty...just that he and my Dad grew up more like brothers than cousins. Wish I was able to spend more time getting to know him..All our love and prayers ...Rest Easy Marty

Scott Getty"

This tribute was added by Lorraine Getty on 22nd March 2014

"Martin was my mentor when I was a principal under his leadership at Watseka. I was fairly untested and rough around the edges. He was straight forward yet kind with me as he walked me though the process of becoming an effective leader. He never tore me down, yet always tried to build me up. I could not have asked for a better person to work under. I have taken from him more knowledge and concepts on how to be than I ever gave him. So many things I say and do come from him and those formative years for me working for him. God bless you Marty, and thanks for everything you have done. It is indeed true "Knowledge is Power."

Dale Hastings"

This tribute was added by Lorraine Getty on 22nd March 2014

"Martin had a poster on his office wall that said Its not important what is at the end of the road, it is the journey that is important. Martin's journey brought him and his family to Palestine in 1983 as Superintendent of schools. I am so glad it did. I was on the school board so I got to know Martin, Lorraine, and the girls. I always enjoyed his humor and friendship. He was instrumental in getting funding for our schools that we had not had before. He also started a maintenance plan for the buildings and buses. He was great with the staff and had the ability to match each individual with what they would do best. We all benefited from his years in our district, and my family was blessed with his and Lorraine's friendship. He will be greatly missed. Our sympathy to the family.

Zinnia and Jim Biggs"

This tribute was added by Lorraine Getty on 22nd March 2014

"Lorraine, Jenny and Emily, We are so sorry for your loss but Marty is at peace now. We will miss him because he was a good friend and an excellent boss. I used to tease him that he only fell off the pedestal twice in the 10 years I worked for him. He was a true asset to Unit 9. We won't be there to share in your loss but please know that our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

Roger and Donna Beam"

This tribute was added by joanie watson on 14th March 2014

"While working with Marty at DPS, I really enjoyed his sense of humor. And, I have to mention his nice hair! Shortly after Marty passed, I had a dream in which Martin was coming at me in a car with a big smile on his face. He passes and as he is leaving I see him look in the rear view mirror with that devilish grin of his and he takes out a BIG brush and starts combing back the sides of his hair! I woke up with a smile on my face & giggling. I thought, that is exactly how I remember Marty! What a sense of humor he had and he is carrying it on in to the next life. The people waiting to greet him are in for a treat. Great person! I hope your family can remember all the good days and let the bad days fade away! My thoughts are with you all."

This tribute was added by Jean Chrostoski on 10th March 2014

"I have you in my thoughts, Lorraine. He was one of the good guys. Stay strong. Come out to see me and we will go hiking."

This tribute was added by Lorraine Getty on 9th March 2014

"Lorraine, We are very sorry for your loss. I have many good memories from my times spent with Marty, you and your family are in our prayers,.

Phil Porter and Family."

This tribute was added by Lorraine Getty on 9th March 2014

"I want to share my sincere sympathy. I knew Mr. Getty when he was my principal and helped Cindy Miller with our high school girls basketball team. I always enjoyed him and his wonderful sense of humor. He was also very compassionate. He would talk to me at times about my great grandfather Golden who fled Milan, Italy made it to France and swam the English Chanel then made his way to Virginia. He also would get tears in his eyes when we discussed the horrors my daddy of blessed memory endured at the hands of the Nazis. He knew I was proud of my Spanish, Italian Jewish roots and always had kind, caring things to say and a compassionate ear. I will miss him!

All my love to you all!
Pamela Harris (Mankin)."

This tribute was added by Lorraine Getty on 9th March 2014

"Dear Lorraine & Family,

We are saddened by Martin' s recent death. He was a beloved father and husband and a wonderful friend to us. He was a positive force in our community with his dedication to Unit #9 and the children of Watseka. As teachers, he always treated us with the greatest respect and allowed us to do what teachers should do--teach.

We were touched by the video of his life. He certainly accomplished a great deal and had fun during all of his travels. You will have a treasure chest of fond memories.

We are sending our heartfelt sympathy to all of your family. He will be missed by his friends in Watseka.

With sympathy & friendship,
Karen & Joe Sutfin"

This tribute was added by Lorraine Getty on 9th March 2014

"Lorraine and Family,

I send my prayers to you on this loss of husband and father, Martin was such a kind soul and grand man. I was graced to have him at the start of my career at Watseka Unit #9, and I remember those years fondly. Martin Getty was a Superintendent of integrity, respect, and fairness. I could trust and depend upon him as my administrative leader, as well as a colleague of learning, and friend. Words are not good enough at a time like this, but know Martin Getty will always remain as a light and guide throughout my years with school children. In time may the blessing of faith and assurance give you peace and comfort, I have been blessed and honored in knowing Martin Getty.

Julie A. Dunn"

This tribute was added by Lorraine Getty on 9th March 2014

"I have always had fond memories of our time together in particular the two of us being the "best double-play combination" in the local fast-pitch softball league....Marty had a wonderful personality and great sense of humor.....he loved his family, his school(s), and had passion for providing a quality education for the students....Trudy & I extend our deepest sympathy and we look forward, in confidence, to the day of resurrection and the life of the world to come!.....May our God grant you His peace.....Kerry Bell"

This tribute was added by Lorraine Getty on 9th March 2014

"Lorraine and Family, Martin Getty was my friend, colleague, and Superintendent; and he knew when and how to wear each hat. As I watched him work, I also found his approach to be the same for all--teachers, staff, and Principals. Everyone cannot wear all those hats, but Marty did it well. He was a good friend, and I will miss his occasional calls when he was on the road, "What are you up to?" and "What's going on in Watseka?". He will be missed by many. We thank God and you for sharing Marty with us.

Silas & Marlene Light"

This tribute was added by Lorraine Getty on 9th March 2014

"Dear Loved Ones,
Please accept my condolences over the passing of Martin. May you find comfort, peace, strength in our Christian faith, knowing that Martin is now safe in the care of a loving Savior. At the same time, may his memory and the record of his full and meaningful life, His love and affection, also warm your hearts and bring you happy memories today and all the days ahead.

I only knew Martin through our membership at First Lutheran Church, but his smile and participation brought joy to me. The newspaper article made me wish that I had been a close friend because he was so active and intelligent and significant, and I could have learned much from him. Perhaps the family should write a book about his meaningful life. May God bless you and grant you all you need today and the days ahead.

Al Weidlich."

This tribute was added by Lorraine Getty on 9th March 2014

"Lorraine and Family,
We were so sorry to hear of Mr. Getty's loss - he was such a kind man and had so much integrity! I knew him through Lorraine while we both worked at Milford and then for a brief time he was my "boss" at Unit 9. He always had the students and the district in mind and was always working to improve things. He will be remembered and missed!

Craig and Velanne Gocken"

This tribute was added by Lorraine Getty on 9th March 2014

"Although I knew of Marty only through Lorraine, I was in awe when I read of his lifetime of accomplishments. What a wonderful man and how many lives he must have touched as an educator. The world was left a better place because of him. My sympathy to Lorraine and his family.

Sharon Andrews"

This tribute was added by Lorraine Getty on 9th March 2014

"Marty and I grew up together in West Mifflin, Pa. I'll always remember playing Little League together and having sleepovers at each other's houses. Although we haven't seen each other in years, I'll never forget my boyhood friend. I extend my sympathies to the family on the loss of their husband and father.

Dennis Sikosky"

This tribute was added by Albert Zalfini on 6th March 2014

"marty; I could write forever what you meant to me,  how sadly I will miss you and always loved seeing you and lorraine at visits.  rip, uncle albert"

This tribute was added by Chris Oyer on 5th March 2014

"I was so saddened to recently learn of Martin's illness followed by his passing. He was a mentor for me as I sought answers and advice when making decisions about employment opportunities and retirement while at District 61. He was always professional yet full of life and always willing to patiently give of his time to explain things so carefully and thoroughly. I know he touched so many lives, and the ripples continue. I am sorry for your great loss; may God's peace and comfort sustain you as you celebrate his life."

This tribute was added by Mark Seeley on 5th March 2014

"Uncle Marty was interred today. I was a pall bearer for the urn ark. I'm very happy I could be here to say goodbye to him and be with my family. Reconnecting with them has been very good for me.

Uncle Marty's absence will be a noticeable hole for years to come. Hearing everything shared in his eulogies at the service was encouraging. It reaffirmed the fact that my experience with him as a mentor was not unique. He often asked those he helped to pay it forward. I have tried many times to honor his request and offer help, advice, and mentoring to friends in need.

It's obvious to me that the end of his life will, in no way, be an end to Uncle Marty's legacy."

This tribute was added by john callender on 3rd March 2014

"We always looked forward to family visits with Marty, whose good nature and good humor would be there adding cheer to any occasion. We will miss him. Glenda and I am so very sorry that Lorraine, Emily and Jen have been deprived of such a loving husband and father. Our thoughts and prayers go with them and all of Marty's family."

This tribute was added by Sue Butler on 2nd March 2014

"I was so sorry to hear of Mr. Getty's passing. I can't bring myself to call him Marty because as my superintendent in Watseka, he was always "Mr. Getty". That title was a true one of respect for a man who did his jog so well. He always made you feel comfortable whether it was asking him advise on how to handle a situation or a question. He sat there quietly listening, sometimes with a smile forming as you talked (or a frown), then gave you a straight answer. I always admired his straight forwardness. I am forever thankful for the mentoring and support he gave me. His support and guidance helped me to develop a confidence in myself to go beyond the classroom. He will be missed by many. Prayers for the family."

This tribute was added by Susan Bowyer on 28th February 2014

"I have so many great memories of times with you and Marty.  From the trip to Pitt for the IL-Pitt game, to the St. Louis trip, to camping trips with the kids, we had a lot of wonderful times.

Not only do I have wonderful memories of Marty as a friend, he was hands down the best principal I have had in 30+ years of teaching.

My thoughts and prayers are with you during this time."

This tribute was added by Tom Birge on 28th February 2014

"Marty, my good friend, my last visit with you was Valentines Day.  Even though you were weak from  cancer, you proved to me how important friendship meant to you.   Our  forty years of friendship definitely provided me with many great memories of you and your family. Rebecca and I will  always remember the many laughs we shared with you and Lorraine over the many times we got together.  You were a great friend, husband and father.  The Lord has definitely taken one of the "Good Guys".  God be with you Lorraine, Emily and Jennifer"

This tribute was added by Dan Moore on 28th February 2014

"Lorraine and family,
So sorry for your loss.  Marty was an excellent principal and inspired so many.  I enjoyed working with him.  He will never be forgotten.

Dan Moore"

This tribute was added by Alan Zuber on 27th February 2014

"To all of Marty's family:  I just wanted you all to know that the "Northern Edgar County " card group has sadly missed his presence over the past several months. We all think of him often while we playing, especially some of his "Decatur" games. :-)   Even as I a Cardinal fan, I was hoping the Pirates were going to make it to the World Series this year as I think that would have been very appealing to Marty. Thanks for sharing your husband and dad with us. He was a great guy to be around."

This tribute was added by Rita Hoult on 27th February 2014

"Lorraine - Altho years have passed since you and Marty were in Chrisman we have fond memories of that time when he worked in our school system, and the time our families spent together. Our sympathy goes out to your family - may your love and memories of good times carry you through."

This tribute was added by Diana Patti on 27th February 2014

"Remember Marty from when Emily and my Daughter Sonia used to hang out a nice person and a good superintendent when working for Watseka School District will be missed prayers with Emily, mother and family"

This tribute was added by Laura Nurnberg on 27th February 2014

"I have so many fond memories of Uncle Marty while we were all visiting Grandma and Grandpa. I remember getting advice before my first interview to become a teacher. My heart goes out to Aunt Lorraine, Emily, Jenny, and Josh. You will continue to be in our prayers."

This tribute was added by Jan Mandernach on 27th February 2014

"So sorry to hear that Martin's fight is over.  As Board members we relied on his vast experience and clear explanations.  I hope you feel the caring of all he touched."

This tribute was added by Carla Brinkoetter on 27th February 2014

"I did not know Marty well but my brief encounters with him over the years were memorable.  He was nice and gentle man.  May wonderful memories sustain you in this time of loss."

This tribute was added by Roger Eddy on 27th February 2014

"Marty was always there for advice, counsel and support.  So many times he would call at just the right time.  He provided me with so much knowledge regarding educational leadership that I couldn't begin to describe the positive effect he had on my career.  More importantly, through his mentoring and friendship, I discovered a confidence that I am not sure I ever would have discovered. He was kind of like the "Wizard of Oz" in that way.  He will be missed.  My thoughts and prayers are with Lorraine and the family today.  We lost one of the really "good guys" for sure."

This tribute was added by Valerie Wells on 26th February 2014

"I'm so sorry to hear of Martin's passing. He was always so available and helpful to me as the education reporter at the Herald & Review, and he explained the most difficult points so clearly (and often; sometimes I needed several repetitions) and patiently. He was also fun to talk to, always available, never too busy even when I know he really WAS too busy, but he made time when I had questions and he always knew the answers. God be with all of you at this difficult time and know that he leaves warm memories in the hearts of many, many people whose lives are richer for having known him."

This tribute was added by carol dixon on 26th February 2014

"We are going to deeply miss Marty, aka "Cousin Eddie." He touched us in so many ways. But, our sadness runs deepest for a Lorraine, Josh, Emily & Jen who lost husband and dad way too soon."

This tribute was added by Melinda Harrington on 26th February 2014

"My heart is heavy for all of you and for me.  I love you and will always have a very special place in my heart for Marti and his family."

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