Cover photo for William A. Getz's Obituary
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1915 William 2006

William A. Getz

August 21, 1915 — June 30, 2006

Moline, Illinois
William Ainsworth Getz of Moline, Illinois, and Michillinda, Michigan, died on Friday, June 30, 2006, at Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois, of complications following heart surgery. He was 90 years old.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday, July 6th at First Congregational Church, Moline, at 2 p.m. A memorial service in Michigan will be held later in the summer. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made in memory of Mr. Getz to the White Lake Sailing School, P.O. Box 454, Whitehall, Michigan 49461, the Quad City Symphony Orchestra or Rivermont Collegiate, Bettendorf. Trimble Funeral and Cremation Center, Moline, is assisting the family.
Bill Getz was both a resident and avid participant in the Quad Cities community from an early age. As a young boy he fetched pails of milk for his family from the Henderson brothers' farm at the south end of Twelfth Street, skated up the river with his Boy Scout Troop, strummed a ukulele and sang in local drinking establishments. As a young man he grew to take the same great satisfaction in his work in local politics (he ran for and was elected to the Moline School Board before he had any children in school), in business, in his well-equipped workshop, and in his work on the board of the Symphony Orchestra, which he enjoyed greatly and attended regularly until quite recently. His prodigious memory was a wonder, and his terrific interest in new acquaintances provoked one dear friend to remark that if you wanted to meet someone anywhere in the world you just needed to run Bill Getz up a flagpole and you'd find someone he knew.
Between the Mississippi, a summer cottage in Michigan, and an uncle with a sailboat in Chicago, he developed a lifelong love of the water. As a teenager bringing the first pair of water skis to Lindsay Park, learning, then teaching, sailing, he went on to a life of houseboating up and down the river and racing sailboats on Lake Michigan, to Bermuda, and across the Atlantic. He consistently credited a patient and forgiving wife for his ability to pursue these loves and they spent many happy years cruising together in houseboats, sailboats, and even a barge on the French canals. All this with an eager joy he imparted to those he met along the way and, most of all, to his children and friends.
Mr. Getz was born August 15,1915 in Holland, Michigan, the second of Harry and Carolyn Ainsworth Getz's ten children. The family moved to Moline in 1917 where Mr. Getz graduated from Moline Public High School. He attended Augustana College before going to work at Farmall. In 1938 he joined Williams White & Co., an Ainsworth family-owned company manufacturing heavy machinery, and moved to Williams White's sales office in Chicago.
On April 16, 1940 he married the former Kaye Spelletich of Davenport, Iowa, at Trinity Cathedral, Davenport. They lived in Chicago until 1941 when they moved back to Moline where Mr. Getz joined Moline Forge & Co., another family company, during World War II.
He worked for both Moline Forge and Williams White for all of his professional life, serving as President and Chairman of both companies.
Mr. Getz was a board member and president of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra Association; a board member, drive chairman and president of the Moline Community Chest before it combined into the United Way; a member of the Moline Board of Education; and a two-term alderman on the Moline City Council. He was also Rock Island County Republican Chairman for eight years, 17th (now 19th) District State Central Committeeman for twelve years, a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1964, and a Precinct Committeeman for 30 years. In addition he was a member of the board of Moline Public Hospital for 33 years, for twenty-one of which he served as president. He also served on the boards of Illinois Blue Cross-Blue Shield, Bituminous Casualty Corporation, and First National Bank of Moline, later to become Bank One and then Chase.
Mr. Getz was a charter and public member of the National Boating Safety Advisory Council to the United States Coast Guard, a trustee of the Moline YMCA, and a member of the board of the Associated Employers of the Quad Cities.
He was a graduate of and then an instructor at the White Lake Yacht Club Sailing School. He sailed in thirty-four Chicago-Mackinac races, nine Newport-Bermuda races, several Southern Ocean Racing Circuit races and a transatlantic race from Bermuda to Spain. In addition, his family built a houseboat, 'The Matriark', which was a familiar sight on the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities area from the mid-50's to the 70's.
Mr. Getz was a member of the Rock Island Arsenal Golf Club, Lindsay Park Yacht Club, the Chicago Yacht Club and White Lake Yacht Club, Whitehall, Michigan.
Mr. Getz's wife Kaye preceded him in death in December, 2001. Two sisters, Sara Winwood and Carol Bartholomew, and a brother, Tom Getz, survive him, along with his daughters, Stephanie Sandell of London, England, Pamela Garton and her husband Robert of Elkhart lake, Wisconsin, and Martha Cogswell of Colorado Springs, and his son, John Getz of Los Angeles, along with
eight grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and Lady, a black standard poodle.
For the last ten years, and during his wife's illness, she was wonderfully cared for, and his house beautifully kept by, Mrs. Treva Johnson.
Share a story about Bill or light a candle in his memory at www.TrimbleFuneralHomes.com.

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