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Bethel Remembers Marjorie Getsch

Marjorie Getsch with her great-granddaughter Bethany Haag (left) and granddaughter Debbie (Getsch) Haag (right) at Grandparents Day at Bethel in 2015.

Longtime donor and friend to Bethel University Marjorie Getsch died on May 6 at 101 years old. Getsch and her late husband, Bill, began supporting Bethel in 1978 through several planned gifts. During Getsch’s most recent interview with Bethel, on Grandparents Day 2015, she said though they were not alumni, she and Bill decided to support the school 37 years ago because they “loved its values.” Getsch Residence Hall, which was dedicated in 1985, was named in honor of the couple’s generosity.

“Marjorie and Bill were some of the first to enter into a trust agreement with the Bethel University Foundation,” recalls Dan Wiersum, associate vice president for planned giving at Bethel. It was a unique way for Bethel to benefit while also creating consistent income for the Getsch family. “The trust has been enforced all these years making quarterly payments to Marjorie.” In addition, Getsch made charitable gift annuities to Bethel, and now the proceeds of her trust and annuities will be available to advance Bethel's mission.

“For many years after Bill passed away, Marjorie continued to support Bethel through her generous giving,” says Bethel University President Jay Barnes. “She loved being with students, listening to Festival of Christmas, attending Grandparents Day, and other Bethel activities. The joyful twinkle in her eyes showed that the joy of the Lord was overflowing in her heart. The Getsch family’s love for and commitment to Bethel's mission will make a difference for years to come.”

Wiersum had gotten to know Getsch and her family through the years and he will remember how she loved to garden and bake, especially her famous apple dumplings. He was also impressed with how technically savvy she was for a centenarian. Until last year, Getsch wrote a weekly blog for her family and she would request Wiersum email documents rather than print and mail them to her.

Getsch was a member of Westwood Community Church, her church home since 1998. The Getsch family includes four sons, 14 grandchildren and their eight spouses, and 18 great-grandchildren—two of whom are current Bethel students. Visit the Star Tribune website for a complete obituary.

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