Walter Getchell of Marshfield, Maine died April 2 surrounded by his loving family and friends after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Born in Bridgewater, Massachusetts on November 16, 1935, Walter, with his two brothers, Ken and Stan, AKA the three amigos, shared many happy memories and were known for their antics. He followed his passion for music to Boston University where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education in 1957, followed by Masters degrees from North Adams State College and Wichita State University. Walter proudly served in the US Army and was stationed in Berlin, Germany and later served in the Army Reserve.
In 1959, Walt married the love of his life, Susan Dolber and moved to Williamstown, Massachusetts where he taught music at Williamstown Public Schools for 37 years. As a teacher he touched the lives of many children through his encouragement, humor and love of music. He played trombone and tuba in the Berkshire Symphony Orchestra and conducted a variety of musical ensembles. Walter and his family shared a love of renovating and building. In 1998, after retirement, he and Sue moved to Marshfield, Maine to build a new home.
Walter valued friendship, community and family. He gave and received faith and support through his many activities with those at the Centre Street Congregational Church. He was an active member of many local charity organizations and boards and helped to found PFLAG in Washington County. He continued to share his love of music by teaching in various schools in Washington County.
Many knew Walter as the face of Auger Hill Farm and visited on Maine Maple Sunday where he and his VPs of operation, Chris Getchell and Ginny Preston, along with the Sugar Shack Crew, welcomed many visitors to join in celebrating their love of maple syrup. The rich cast of characters in the Pumpkin Ridge neighborhood provided Walt with warmth, support and many, many laughs.
He is survived by his four children, Karen Falkenham and her husband, Bernie, of Ballantynes Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada, Dr. Nancy Getchell and her partner Carol Townsend of Wilmington, Del., Linda Moses and her husband, Walter, of Bennington, Vt., and Robert Getchell and his partner, Ronald Jansen, of Le Boulard, France; his grandchildren, Emily and Jeremy Falkenham, Cai Moses and Connor Miller, brother Kenneth Getchell of Roque Bluffs, Maine, four sisters-in-law, Norma Getchell, Joyce Getchell, Jill Reynolds, and Bernice Dolber, his beloved nieces, nephews and cousins, friend Joan Miller and amazing and supportive neighbors and friends. In addition to his wife, Susan Dolber Getchell, he was predeceased by his parents, Lee and Esther, sister Josephine and brother Stanley.
A special thanks to Dr. Openshaw and Dr. Sammis for the excellent care he received over many years. Also thanks to the Down East Community Hospital and EMMC ICU for end of life care and in helping him pass with love and dignity. A celebration of his life will be held in Machias, Maine in the summer. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his memory to the Stained Glass Windows Restoration Project Centre Street Congregational Church UCC, P.O. Box 265, Machias, ME 04654 or the EMMC Lafayette Cancer, 33 Whiting Hill Rd, Brewer ME 04412 (Attn. Diana Thurston)