Henry McGettigan, 96, transit claims manager

Henry C. McGettigan was a WWII veteran.
Henry C. McGettigan was a WWII veteran.
Posted: May 25, 2014

After Henry C. McGettigan's mother died when he was 9, he would spend some of his summer days with his maternal grandmother in North Philadelphia.

"She would pack a lunch for him" and send him off to Shibe Park at 21st Street and Lehigh Avenue, the home of both the Athletics and the Phillies, daughter Theresa Miller said in a phone interview.

"He would go and sit outside and listen to the game," through the roars of the crowds, in the days before portable radios, because he didn't have enough money to buy a ticket.

"He did that every summer," until he was old enough to get a summer job, she said. "He loved baseball."

On Friday, May 16, Mr. McGettigan, 96, baseball team captain for the Class of 1935 at Camden Catholic High School, died at Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice Inpatient Center in Mount Holly.

A resident of Westmont since 1945, Mr. McGettigan retired in 1979 as a claims manager for the Southern Division of NJ Transit.

Born in Philadelphia, he grew up in the Fairview neighborhood of Camden and was the third baseman for Camden Catholic, his daughter said.

After working at RCA in Camden following graduation, Mr. McGettigan enlisted in the Army in June 1941, before the nation entered World War II that December.

In 1942, Mr. McGettigan wrote in autobiographical notes, he and his infantry unit were assigned to patrol the shores of Long Island. A few saboteurs had landed there from a Nazi submarine that June.

He took part in the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 and saw combat in the Rhineland.

But kneeling in damp foxholes took their toll.

"He was in bed for a year with rheumatoid arthritis" after he was discharged, his daughter said. "His knees blew up. He had a very hard time walking."

Eventually, he returned to baseball, playing for an American Legion adult league team, she said, and then umpiring for that league in the 1950s and 1960s.

Mr. McGettigan had begun his career in the insurance department of Transport of New Jersey, a forerunner of NJ Transit.

He was a Camden County American Legion commander and a commander of a Collingswood post, both in the 1960s.

He was a 50-year veteran of annual spiritual retreats for the Men of Malvern.

And as a member of the Pennsauken Country Club, he shot an 83 on his 83d birthday, his daughter said.

Besides daughter Theresa, he is survived by daughters Geraldine Woods and Clare Wisor, a sister, nine grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. His wife of 69 years, Geraldine, died in 2013.

A visitation was set from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, May 28, at Holy Savior Church, 50 Emerald Ave., Westmont, before an 11 a.m. Funeral Mass there, with interment in the Brig Gen. William C. Doyle Memorial Cemetery in Wrightstown.

Donations may be sent to Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice, Five Eves Dr., Marlton 08053.

Condolences may be offered to the family at www.fosterwarnefuneralhome.com.


wnaedele@phillynews.com

610-313-8134 @WNaedele

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