Donald George Getman

Portland, Oregon

August 3, 2022

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
86 Navy E3

USS Whetstone LSD 27


Donald George Getman
May 3, 1936 ~ August 3, 2022 (age 86)

Don was born in Fargo North Dakota and spent his first two years in Hawley, Minnesota. His family moved to Portland where Don attended Highland Grade School, now Martin Luther King Jr. He went on to Jefferson High School where he played baseball, joined the rally squad and was very social.

After graduation he joined the Navy where he served aboard the USS Whet Stone in the Far East as a diesel engineman second-class.

Following 4 years of Navy service, Don attended Clark College where he met his wife, Sandy, who also happened to be from Minnesota. They married in 1959 and Don started his 5-year apprenticeship with the Steamfitters Union. Upon graduating to a Journeyman, he worked many jobs in the field, as well as, working on the Alaska Pipeline.

Don loved his union. He was elected to the Executive Board and later as President and Vice President, he became a business agent of Local 290 and was a contract negotiator. Later elected as financial secretary-treasurer. He was also a dispatcher and then asked to become a Business Agent & Organizer for Local 290 and he accepted the job. He retired from the local in 1998. When he turned 70, he was voted into the Labor Hall of Fame by the sponsoring NW Oregon Labor Retirees Council. He has been a member of the Union for over 55 years.

Having a granddaughter with Muscular Dystrophy, Don became an avid summer camp volunteer for 20 years. He loved overseeing the mess hall, that way he could interact with all the children attending camp. He loved those kids, and they loved him, he was Papa Don to everyone. If you needed something you went, and asked Papa Don and he somehow, he would find it for you. He was always ready with a smile and a hug. He often said of all the wonderful places he and Sandy traveled, MDA camp was the best week of the whole year. 

Don and Sandy have been members of Resurrection Lutheran Church for 50 years. When Hurricane Katrina hit, Don and several church members went to Slidell, Louisiana near New Orleans and worked on the cleanup. He was very active with the church serving on Council and Property committees.

Don loved hunting, fishing, golfing, and clam digging. He loved having friends over for oyster feeds, BBQs, games, or just a cocktail or two. He had great friends from all walks of life. Being blessed with a great gift of gab, he would talk to everyone, no one was a stranger.

He loved to travel to Hawaii where he and Sandy went for 11 years. They took their trailer on adventures, seeing many sights in the US, loved cruises with friends and road trips to California to visit grandchildren. He would try anything at least just once. Even went Zip Lining. Not his favorite thing.

Most of all he loved his wife and family more! He was very proud of his children. As for his grandkids, well they were all just perfect and he loved having them around.

Don leaves behind his wife of nearly 63 years, Sandy, children: Matt, Heidi (Scott) McLeod, Jill, (Todd) Foster and his cherished five grandchildren: Christine, Megan, Henry, Sam, and Adrienne.

“Papa, we already miss you!”

In memory of Don, please consider donating to either or wheeltowalkfoundation.

For some memorial service pics, click photo below for slideshow:

This link will open a youtube slide-show. The ads there are not my doing.

August 20, 2022

Don was honorably discharged at the rank E3 He served on USS Whetstone LSD 27

The Whetstone deployed regularly to the Far East and WestPac areas. They participated in numerous amphibious exercises. At one point they aided the merchantman SS Steel Traveler in Inchon Harbor and were able to rescue the crew and save the crippled ship. 

After his service he went into an apprenticeship, became a journey man and a full fledged union guy. Steamfitters local 290. 

He is survived by his Wife, four children and several grandchildren. He was an avid hunter, fisher and golfer. He was dedicated to his family. He stood with his wife when she founded The Wheel to Walk Foundation. And was an active part of the fundraising efforts.

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