Today marks one of the saddest days of my life because we have to say goodbye forever to the one and only Professor Getatchew Haile. It is indeed hard to put into words how sad I feel.
He was a devoted constant presence in my life for so many years. I still think back to when I first met him almost 60 years ago. He was somewhat intimidating because he was the tallest person I knew and had a majestic aura about him. As I got to know him over the years, I learned he was special in so many other ways quite part from his physical presence. He was not only my brother-in-law but my teacher, brother, mentor and, most of all, a father to my children as he raised Elsa and Dawit as his own with love and guidance.
Gashe Getatchew was there for me whenever I needed him. I poured my heart out to him and he always had time to give me the best advice and all the support I needed. He gave me comfort and peace of mind. He was caring, loving, patient and never judgmental. He was funny, witty, forgiving and a straight shooter. Sometimes it took me days to understand the things he said and I needed to ask for further explanation. His words of wisdom made me think twice and kept me going.
Gashe Getatchew was generous to those who needed his help in any way. He was respectful and never looked down on people. He was welcoming to all. He had a big heart and was always concerned about peoples’ wellbeing and success.
Even with all the trajedy he endured, he never complained. He was always positive and full of life. His resilience, determination and strength of character are almost hard to believe.
While it is hard to imagine my life without Gashe Getatchew in it, he will be in our hearts forever and will always hold a special place in my heart. His laughter will always ring in my ears and the thought of his smile will always bring a smile to my face.