Longtime public servant Gettys passes at age 80

EASLEY — Richard H. Gettys, a prominent, highly-regarded figure in Pickens County, died Sunday at the age of 80.
His funeral will take place at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 13, at Easley Presbyterian Church.
Born in Danville, Va., Gettys was raised in Rock Hill, and graduated from Rock Hill High School. Following his graduation, Gettys served in the United States Marine Corps as a heavy machine gunner, drill instructor at Parris Island and instructor in officers’ basic school in Quantico, Va. His service in the Korean War earned Gettys the Purple Heart and Silver Star for valor in the Chosin Reservoir Campaign.
A lifelong proponent and advocate for the importance of education, Gettys earned his undergraduate degree from Wofford College and graduate degrees from both Furman and Clemson University. His career in education began at Spartanburg High, where Gettys served as both a teacher and a coach. Following his stint at SHS, he was the principal of Easley Junior High School from 1962-1977. Easley’s Richard H. Gettys Middle School is named in his honor.
Following his tenure as Easley Junior High principal, Gettys spent a year as the Director of Secondary Education for Pickens County schools before accepting the position of principal at Easley High School, where he served from 1978-1989. Gettys was the director of Management Information Services for the district from 1989-1991 and then Pickens County school superintendent from 1991-1994, when he retired from his career in education.
“Mr. Gettys was a legend in the School District of Pickens County,” said current superintendent Henry Hunt. “I count it an honor to have known him. I worked with him as a fellow principal and then worked under him when he became superintendent. As an administrator, he truly had students’ interests at heart. He was willing to express his view, so you always knew where he stood on issues.”
In addition to Gettys’ dedicated service to the Pickens County educational system, Jim Findley, Easley Combined Utilities Commissioner, believes that Gettys had a greater, positive impact on Pickens County and the city of Easley over the last half century than probably any other person.
For the last 44 years until his death, Gettys was a commissioner for Easley Combined Utilities.
“He tirelessly sought to provide reliable electric power, safe, pure drinking water and state-of-the-art waste treatment to thousands of customers,” said Findley. “We will miss him, but we will long remember and continue to benefit from his wise counsel and unconditional friendship.”
Gettys was a member of Easley Presbyterian Church. He also served on the Board of Directors of Piedmont Municipal Power Agency and was also involved in numerous Easley civic organizations.
In addition to his wife, Celia Bryson Gettys, he is survived by his sons Dr. Richard Henry  Gettys, Jr. (Sherry Anne), Roddey Bryson Gettys (Jeanne), Robert Lesslie Gettys (Lee), all of Greenville. He is also survived by grandchildren Charlotte Gettys Meade, Meredith Gettys, Jack Gettys, Hank Gettys, Julian Gettys, Bobby Gettys, and Caroline Gettys.