Judge James S. Getty Sr.

Judge James S. Getty Sr.

CUMBERLAND — A sitting circuit court judge in Allegany County remembers the late Judge James S. Getty Sr. as a jurist who could maneuver difficult cases without losing his temperament.

Getty died Saturday, Nov. 11. He was 96.

“I served as a summer clerk when I was in law school and was immediately impressed with Judge Getty,” said Judge W. Timothy Finan on Monday morning. “He was a mentor to me as he was to so many lawyers. He was a perfect gentleman.

“When I came back to Cumberland (as an attorney) it was a pleasure to argue a case in his courtroom.”

Finan remembered Getty as a great storyteller and writer who took pride in his written case decisions.

“He didn’t get reversed often (by a higher court), but when he did he would fire off a letter to the court giving his opinion of the decision,” Finan said.

“Our walks downtown for lunch and the conversations were something I always looked forward to,” Finan said. 

Getty, a Lonaconing native, was an expert on Lefty Grove, his hometown friend who is enshrined in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame as a pitcher, according to Finan.

Fred Sharer, a retired Allegany County Circuit Court judge, called Getty “unique.”

“He started in the old school and worked into the current legal atmosphere,” Sharer said. 

Sharer said Getty had an innate understanding of the human condition.

“He told me, and I’ve never forgotten this, that it is easy to impose a maximum sentence, but it is more difficult and takes more thought to impose a sentence that is fair to everybody involved,” Sharer said.

Getty was active on the Court of Special Appeals at the age of 90.

“I researched that and no other judge had served there at that age,” Sharer said.

Getty was an uncle to Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey S. Getty.

The late judge’s influence and role modeling resulted in two more Getty generations entering law, his nephew said.

“He had a unique ability to use common sense and he was prolific with more than 100 reported decisions,” Getty said. “He was highly respected throughout the state.”

Family and friends will be received on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Wilhelm-Eakin Funeral Home, P.A., Lonaconing.

Services will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, at 11 a.m. at Centre Street United Methodist Church, Cumberland, with the Rev. Thomas E. Young Jr. officiating. Family and friends will be received one hour prior to the service from 10 to 11 a.m.

Interment will be held privately at Frostburg Memorial Park, Frostburg.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his name may be made to a favorite charity of your choice or to the Lefty Grove Statue Committee at CTF Lefty Grove Statue Project, 71 Baltimore St., Cumberland, MD 21502.

Mike Sawyers is a staff writer and the outdoor editor at Cumberland Times-News. Call/text him at 304-639-4277, email msawyers@times-news.com and follow him on Twitter.

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