Alumnus Joseph Gettys turns 108 with grace

Posted on April 29, 2015

Dr. Joseph Gettys crop

Dr. Joseph Gettys

On Thursday, April 23, not long before many Erskine alumni were preparing to travel to Due West for Alumni Weekend, Dr. Joseph M. Gettys ’30 marked his 108th birthday with a celebration at the Presbyterian Home in Clinton.

Director of Alumni Affairs Buddy Ferguson went to visit Gettys that day. Meanwhile, Gettys had tapped out a brief history of his life in honor of the occasion (he has a computer) and gave Ferguson a copy to bring back to Due West.

“He told about playing football at Erskine College,” Ferguson said.

“He was injured his freshman year and never played again, but wound up coaching the freshman football team at Erskine during his senior year.”

A member of the Philomathean Literary Society, Gettys played baseball throughout his time at Erskine, and it was noted in yearbook reports that he pitched against the University of South Carolina and won.

“We didn’t think much about that,” Gettys told Ferguson. “We used to beat them all the time.”

Gettys, who received an honorary doctorate at Erskine in 1984, served on the Erskine Board of Trustees from 1970-76.

A slightly edited version of Dr. Joseph Gettys’ account of his life as a teacher, writer, administrator, and interim pastor can be seen here.