Jeanette Getz, wife, mother, lifelong volunteer, is just getting started on a new journey after passing away peacefully in her sleep on March 1, 2018. Hers was a life full of love, joy and happiness. She left, having created a beautiful life story and a treasury of kindness. She was the embodiment of unconditional love, transforming the lives of those around her. She leaves behind her beloved husband of 40 years, Philip Getz, and daughters Sharon (Michael) Znilek, Janice (Bruce) Smith and Debi (Glenn) Pfitzenmaier and stepdaughter Janet (Al) Solomon, along with a 15 beautiful grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. She joins her father and mother, Sam and Sonya (Lerner) Bernstein; her brothers Larry and Jerome Bernstein; and stepsons Lou and Norman Getz.
Jeanette had a long history of volunteering in the community, last serving as ombudsman for the UT Health System. She was best known – even having a day named in her honor – for her work as the “tennis ball lady.” (please click on the words prior in quotes to see a fascinating video on Jeanette). An avid tennis player her whole life, she collected, recycled and distributed more than 40,000 tennis balls to nursing homes, schools, hospitals and others. She was also an active volunteer with the Dental Auxiliary and Jewish Family Service. She lobbied to add fluoride to Houston water and worked to convince the Texas Silver Haired Legislature to require dental services at nursing homes.
Fascinated by science, she saved news articles and memorabilia dating back to the start of the NASA space program. Years later, her collection was donated to the University of Houston Clear Lake into the custody of the Johnson Space Center History Collection.
Beloved by many for her civic work, she also had a knack for business. Never one to sit and be idle, she always found something interesting to keep her busy. As a newlywed, she finagled her way into a job as medical secretary for the famed heart surgeon Dr. Michael DeBakey, even though she had no previous medical office experience. Later in life, she spearheaded several startups, including a jewelry business, gift basket business and even toyed with creating a line of clothing for the disabled…often recruiting grandchildren and neighborhood kids to help.
At the turn of the century, Jeanette wrote, “I learned a central lesson in my life. A good and rewarding life can be had when you give of yourself to loved ones and friends and by helping others. Your life will then bloom like a flower.” Her life – so well lived – flowered into an entire garden.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Jewish Family Service or Congregation Emanu El.