‘He was always there’: Don Getty’s son remembers ‘tough but fair’ dad
“There’s the political career, there’s the sports career, there’s the business career, but in all that and during all that, he was just a great dad.”
Darin Getty sat in the study of his Edmonton home late Friday morning sharing memories of his father.
READ MORE: Former Alberta premier Don Getty dies at 82
Don Getty served as Alberta’s premier from 1985 to 1991, during which time he steered Alberta through an economic slowdown and created Family Day.
“Family was important,” Darin said. “We took a lot of trips together as family…that was important to my dad.” He believes starting Family Day may end up being one of his father’s political legacies.
Prior to his political career, he was a quarterback for the Edmonton Eskimos and won two Grey Cups.
“He was a winner,” Darin said with a smile. “Everything that he did he won at it.”
There is no doubt the former premier had a lot on his plate, but Darin said his father always made time for the things – and the people – that were important to him.
“He was a busy man… but he always had time.”
The father of four boys, Don Getty certainly had his hands full. He spent his fair share of time at ice rinks and school gyms.
“He never missed a game,” Darin recalled.
Don Getty passed away early Friday morning of heart failure at an Edmonton long-term care centre after his health began to deteriorate earlier this week.
“It was tough watching him really battle, really fight,” Darin said. “You could see how hard he was really trying, but that was my dad; he’s never quit on anything in his life.”
After decades of having their father be a support system for them, Darin and his brothers saw the roles reversed. They were OK with that.
“Making sure we were there for him.”
Darin said he wants his dad to be remembered as a fair man and a good man. He shared concerns that perhaps his public portrayal during his time as energy minister dealing with the National Energy Program might colour Albertans’ memory.
“I just don’t know if they knew how nice of a man he was…I think he brought a lot of class to politics,” Darin said. “There was such a gentle side to him that I don’t think people would have seen.”
“As my mom says, he was a very nice soul. My mom used to say at times, ‘he’s too nice for politics.'”
WATCH: Many Albertans knew him as a politician, or a quarterback, but significantly fewer saw the side Darin Getty did. He shares his thoughts with Fletcher Kent.
But, he was tough when he needed to be.
“A man with class, dignity, fair, tough – raised four boys so that wasn’t always easy for my mom and dad,” Darin laughed.
Above all else, Darin hopes his father is recognized as a man who had a deep love for Alberta. And, despite the rigours of the job, didn’t change who he was because of it.
“I want people to know that he loved the province. He always did what he felt he had to do, he always put other people ahead of himself. He was a kind man, fair and honest.
“He was a decent man and I hope people remember that.”
WATCH: A video tribute looking back at the life of Alberta’s 11th premier.
Memorial books for Getty have been set up in the Alberta Legislature rotunda and at McDougall Centre in Calgary.
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