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Ellsworth Hovey Getchell

Ellsworth Hovey Getchell, or “Getch” as he was known, of San Jose, California passed peacefully on November 28th 2020 at the age of 85-years.  Born and raised in Belmont, Massachusetts, Ellsworth attended Belmont area elementary and high schools.  Upon graduation from high school, he enrolled at Tufts University where he played football under coach Woody Grimshaw.

Ellsworth joined the U. S. Army in 1954, serving with the 82nd Airborne Division in Germany.  He earned the rank of Staff Sergeant and section leader with a heavy weapons company specializing on the 105mm recoilless rifle.

His return to Tufts University after military service was interrupted by an intense interest in Parachuting.  An early pioneer of the sport of skydiving, Ellsworth co-founded two skydiving clubs: the Cambridge Parachute Club (now MIT Skydiving Club) and the Medford Parachute Club, aka Jumbo Jumpers.  He performed skydiving demonstrations throughout the northeast until a significant accident in the summer of 1959.

In 1962, Ellsworth graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Minor in Aeronautics.  His career included a stint with American Electric Power as a power plant design engineer and thermodynamicist.  Ellsworth joined Transworld Air Lines in 1966 as a Flight Engineer then Co-Pilot on the Convair 880 and later the Boeing 707.  He retired from TWA as a Boeing 727 Captain in 1995, at the age of 60-years.

The enduring love of Ellsworth’s life was the Hawker Sea Fury he purchased in 1974, which he restored, maintained and operated for over 45-years.  Ellsworth performed at airshows throughout North America and was an original member of the U. S. Navy Tailhook Legacy Flight.  Ellsworth logged over 29,000 flight hours, including 2,500 hours in his Sea Fury and in the P-51D Mustang. 

It was Ellsworth’s desire that his worldly resources be dedicated toward the continued maintenance and operation of his Hawker Sea Fury as well as the support of promising students in aviation and the sciences.  The Ellsworth Hovey Getchell Foundation was created to ensure his legacy lives on.