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‘He was always there’: Don Getty’s son remembers ‘tough but fair’ dad

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WATCH RAW: Former Alberta premier Don Getty's son Darin speaks to Global News about how his father is being remembered politically and by his loved ones – Feb 26, 2016

“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.

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“He was a winner,” Darin said with a smile. “Everything that he did he won at it.”

READ MORE: Not just a polician, Don Getty remembered as a great athlete  

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.

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.

READ MORE: ‘A great Albertan’: Tributes to former premier Don Getty pour in

 

Alberta Progressive Conservative party Leader Don Getty stands with his wife Margaret in Edmonton, May 8, 1986. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Dave Buston
Alberta Premier Don Getty and his wife Margaret are greeted warmly at his nomination meeting in Stettler, Alta., Apr. 20, 1989. Ray Giguere, The Canadian Press
Alberta Premier Don Getty, seen with his wife Margaret, announces his plans to step down as premier at a news conference at Government House in Edmonton, Alta., Sept. 9, 1992. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ray Giguere. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ray Giguere
A photograph of Don Getty in his football uniform from the 1950s. Courtesy: JP Metras Sports Museum
Getty played with the Edmonton Eskimos from 1955 to 1965, winning two Grey Cup championships in 1955 and 1956. His name was added to the Eskimos Wall of Honour at Commonwealth Stadium in 1992. Dave Carels, Global News
Getty played with the Edmonton Eskimos from 1955 to 1965, winning two Grey Cup championships in 1955 and 1956. His name was added to the Eskimos Wall of Honour at Commonwealth Stadium in 1992. Dave Carels, Global News
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Premiers ham it up following the conclusion of the Canada Round of constitutional negotiations in Ottawa Aug. 22, 1992. (L to R) Gary Filmon of Manitoba, Clyde Wells of Newfoundland, Don Getty of Alberta, Frank McKenna of New Brunswick, Tony Penikett of NWT, and Roy Romanow of Saskatchewan. (CP PHOTO/ Bill Grimshaw). CP PHOTO/ Bill Grimshaw
Former Alberta Premier Don Getty reminisces about his Edmonton Eskimos teammate quarterback Jackie Parker in the Eskimos locker room, Tuesday Nov. 7, 2006. Jason Scott, CP PHOTO
Don Getty's name on the Commonwealth Stadium Wall of Honour in Edmonton, Alta. February 26, 2016. Erin Chalmers, Global News
Former Alberta Premier Don Getty is promoted to officer into the Order of Canada in Ottawa Wednesday April 14, 1999 by Governor General Romeo LeBlanc. CP PHOTO/Tom Hanson
Darin Getty shares some family photos on Friday, Feb. 26, 2016. Global News
Darin Getty shares some family photos on Friday, Feb. 26, 2016. Global News
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Family photos in the Getty home Friday, Feb. 26, 2016. Global News
The portrait of Don Getty in the Alberta Legislature, Feb. 26, 2016. Brad Gowan, Global News

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.

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“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.

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.

Click to play video: 'Don Getty’s son remembers ‘tough but fair’ father' Don Getty’s son remembers ‘tough but fair’ father
Don Getty’s son remembers ‘tough but fair’ father – Feb 26, 2016

But, he was tough when he needed to be.

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“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.

Click to play video: 'Video tribute: Remembering Don Getty' Video tribute: Remembering Don Getty
Video tribute: Remembering Don Getty – Feb 26, 2016

Memorial books for Getty have been set up in the Alberta Legislature rotunda and at McDougall Centre in Calgary.

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