Long-time PC professor passes away

Long-time PC professor passes away


To most of us, he was known as Dr. Joe. To some, he was known as father, pastor, teacher, friend. On July 1, 2016, Dr. Joe passed from this world into the Church Triumphant after having lived a full and blessed life. He had celebrated his 109th birthday in April at Presbyterian Community among many, many friends — and he was sporting his PC tie, of course.

His impact on others is far and wide. He was an emeritus professor at PC, having taught for 19 years (1956-1975), a recipient of the PC Medallion and member of the William Plumer Jacobs Society. He received an honorary doctorate in 1975 from PC. In addition, he served as Dean at PC from 1962-1969.

In honor of his many contributions, the State of South Carolina bestowed upon him its highest civilian award, The Order of the Palmetto. Dr. Joe was also the organizing pastor for Selwyn Avenue Presbyterian Church in Charlotte and for Westminster Presbyterian Church in Greenwood. A member of First Presbyterian Church in Clinton, Dr. Joe attended church every Sunday and actually served as interim pastor for 36 churches– even after he turned 100. All three of Dr. Joe’s children are PC alumni — Ann Gettys Nash ’60 (deceased 2005), Jean Gettys’63, and Joe Gettys, Jr.’67.

He was one of the biggest Blue Hose fans out there. Through this last season, Dr. Joe was at all but maybe one home football game, and most of the home basketball games — in his special place at the end of the court. As all can attest, Dr. Joe always had a big smile and loved talking to folks. But most of all, he was a man of God — a devoted Christian, loving and caring. He touched all who knew him. I’m sure there are many, many of us with Dr. Joe stories.

The family has not determined the date for the memorial service — most likely sometime in August. They have asked that in lieu of flowers, persons may make donations to the “Gettys Scholarship for Christian Service” at Presbyterian College, 503 S. Broad Street, Clinton, SC 29325. Online donations may be made through this link.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Jean and Joe and all of Dr. Joe’s family and friends. We are grateful for his wonderful life and the difference he made in every life he touched. He will be missed by many. Heaven certainly gained a true angel last Friday.