Susan Dolber Getchell (1937-2009)
Updated 7:32 PM ET Feb 28, 2009
Marshfield, Maine -- Susan Getchell, a resident of Marshfield, died Wednesday, February 25, 2009, in a hospital in Bangor, Maine. Her passing came after a short, courageous battle with pulmonary fibrosis. At the end, she was surrounded by her loving family. Susan was born on April 18, 1937 in Melrose, Massachusetts, where she was raised by her late parents Clifford O. and Mildred (Winn) Dolber. Susan graduated from Melrose High School, and in 2005, she was inducted into the Melrose High School Athletic Hall of Fame. She received a Bachelor of Education degree from Bridgewater State College and a Master of Education degree from North Adams State College. She began teaching in the North Adams public school system before raising her children, and then she returned to a career in education at North Adams State College (now Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts), where she was an associate professor. Susan had a lifelong love of sports and physical activity. She was an early pioneer in the area of women’s sports and began teaching and coaching women’s athletics at North Adams State College before Title IX became law. She spent 20 years coaching a variety of sports, including field hockey, softball, gymnastics and soccer. In 2008, MCLA recognized her amazing contributions to women's athletics at the College and named their female student-athlete of the year award in her honor and elected her to the MCLA Athletic Hall of Fame. After retiring from coaching, she continued to teach and served as the chairwoman of the physical education department at North Adams State. During her last two years at the college, she served as director of the Susan B. Anthony Women’s Center. Susan valued both spirituality and religion and was involved in many church related activities. She was a member of the Centre Street Congregational Church in Machias, Maine, where she was a member of the chancel choir, church treasurer and a member of various boards and committees. She married the love of her life, Walter Lee Getchell, on December 27, 1959. The couple then moved to western Massachusetts and spent the remainder of their working years teaching in North Adams and Williamstown before retiring to Marshfield, Maine, in 1998. She is survived by her husband, Walter; four children, Karen Falkenham and her husband, Bernie, of Ballantynes Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada, Dr. Nancy Getchell of Wilmington, Del., Linda Moses and her husband, Walter, of Bennington, Vt., and Robert Getchell and his partner, Ronald Jansen, of Le Boulard, France; her grandchildren, Emily and Jeremy Falkenham and Cai Moses; one sister, Jill Reynolds, of Chicago, Ill.; two sisters-in-law, Bernice Dolber and Sybil Dolber; and several nieces and nephews. In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by two brothers, Clifford O. Dolber Jr. and Richard W. Dolber. A memorial service was scheduled to be held July 11, 2009 in Machias, Maine, at her church. Donations in her memory may be made to the Centre Street Congregational Church, P.O. Box 265, Machias, ME 04654.