by Peter Jakey–Managing Editor
Art and Beth Getzinger of Rogers City have been selected as the 2013 Nautical Festival grand marshals.
There could be no greater local honor for a couple who epitomize community involvement and love the annual festival. For them, the festival is as important as Christmas Day, or the firearm deer opener. It is all about family.
The Getzingers purchased the “green house” at the corner of South First and Ontario because it needed repairs. It is one of the most unique and beautiful houses in Rogers City. They wanted to preserve one of the oldest homes in town during a time when Urban Renewal claimed many historic structures.
The “green house” became a “festival house” for the family, which includes seven children and 13 grandchildren. Art also has two children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren from a previous marriage.
“Everybody comes home for the festival,” said Beth. “Everybody will be here. Their hearts are all here.”
It is a house with one primary function for six days of the year: entertain during the festival.
“I was very shocked,” said Beth, when she heard the news. “What a wonderful honor.”
“Yes,” said Art, agreeing with his wife.
Their family is “very excited” that the Nautical Festival Committee selected them.
“There are a lot of people in town, who deserve the same thing, but Art and I grew up here, so it makes it even more special,” said Beth. Their dads worked together at the Calcite power house. It was long before the couple met and married 51 years ago.
“I think it is quite an honor,” said Art.
“Sure, it is,” said Beth, agreeing with her husband.
The Aug. 4 festival parade will be a couple of days short of Art’s 81st birthday.
Most people in Rogers City know Beth for the 44 years she spent in teaching. In retirement, she became coordinator of the Presque Isle Food Pantry and later, Baby Pantry in 2007.
“It is six-and-a-half days a week,” said Art. “And sometimes more.”
“I am not going to let anyone go hungry,” said Beth. “I am glad that we are there to help them. We get such good support. You cannot believe the support that we get. People you would never think of, and they really support it.” She was named the 2012 Rogers City Zonta Volunteer of the Year.
The Getzingers are members of Westminster Presbyterian Church. She is an elder, deacon, choir member, organist and Circle 4 member.
Beth also belonged to the Alpena Mother of Twins Organization; the Alpena Civic Theatre; and the Rogers City Civic League where she chaired the Summer Red Cross Swimming Program for years.
Art, who worked at Michigan Limestone Operations as an accountant and in plant security for 35 years, coached Rogers City Little League for eight years and helped to establish the Rogers City Bears’ youth football program. He helped make the arrangements to move the gazebo to Westminster Park, and received help from his sons. He worked on the committee to landscape, flower the park and install water lines to the gardens.
Additionally, Art served on the Rogers City Parks and Recreation Commission; organized the Punt, Pass and Kick competition for the Optimist Club; worked on the Pinewood Derby for the Optimists. He also is a member of the Fraternal Order of the Masons and serves Westminster Presbyterian Church as a deacon and an elder.
Art served the country as well. He was in the Air Force during the Korean War. He retired from Calcite in 1985 and installed satellite dishes and managed a handful of rental properties in Rogers City.
When it comes to parading along Third Street in August, Beth has one request. She would like her parade vehicle to be placed near the bagpipers, because it is a big part of the festival and she would just hate to miss.
The deserving couple represents so much that is good about the community, but they also are great examples of why the festival is so much a part of Rogers City’s fabric. It is a homecoming for families.