Paul Henry Getto, D.D.S., 94, passed away at home December 21, 2011 surrounded by family. Funeral services will be 10:00 a.m., Saturday, December 24, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 1011 Vermont Street, Lawrence. A reception at the church will immediately follow the service.
Paul was born October 1, 1917 in Jeannette, Pennsylvania to Michael and Ernesta Getto, who were originally from the Piedmont region of northwest Italy. The youngest of six surviving children, Paul graduated from Jeannette High School and then followed his older brothers, Mike Getto, a KU assistant football coach (1929-1939 and 1947-1950) and All-American tackle at the University of Pittsburgh (1928), and Ernest J. Getto, M.D., a graduate of KU Medical School, to Lawrence to attend the University of Kansas. Paul’s professors at KU included Dr. James A. Naismith, inventor of the sport of basketball and founder of the KU basketball program. After KU, Paul attended the University of Kansas City School of Dentistry (now UMKC Dental School), graduating in 1942.
During college, he met his future wife, Winnifred Hagberg, while both worked at the Eldridge Hotel in Lawrence. Paul and Winnie were married October 10, 1942 in Montgomery, Alabama, where Paul served four years in the U.S. Army Air Force Dental Corps. This fall Paul and Winnie celebrated their sixty-ninth wedding anniversary.
Following his military service, Paul and Winnie lived two years in DuBois, Pennsylvania while Paul practiced dentistry. In 1948, they returned to Lawrence where Paul continued to practice dentistry and oral surgery for 38 years until his retirement in 1986. During retirement, Paul was active in volunteer work for the Boy Scouts of America, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Douglas County Senior Services (which honored him with the Jim Seaver Award in 2008), the Lawrence Visitor’s Center and other organizations. He was a member of the American Dental Association, the Kansas State Dental Association, the Douglas County Dental Society, and the Lawrence Rotary Club.
Paul was a wonderful, cheerful man, loved and admired by all who knew him. Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by his brothers Anthony Getto, Dominic Getto, Mike Getto, Ernest J. Getto, M.D. and his sister Anna Wilps. Paul is survived by his wife of 69 years, Winnie Getto; his son Paul, and wife Kathy, of Topeka, Ks; his son Charles, and wife Carol, of Lenexa, Ks; his daughter Jane Getto Allen, and husband Stephen, of Lawrence; and seven grandchildren. The family suggests that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be sent to Trinity Episcopal Church, Lawrence Memorial Hospital or Douglas County Visiting Nurses.