- Benjamin Gettler is born on September 16, 1925 in Louisville, Kentucky, to Herbert Gettler, an undocumented Jewish immigrant, and Gertrude, another Jewish immigrant who travelled with her mother and brother across Europe from Israel to Vienna, Austria during the First World War.
- Gettler graduates with high honors from the University of Cincinnati with a B.A. in Economics. He joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), immediately upon enrollment in 1942, however was unable to serve during the draft in 1943 due to a condition of unstable tuberculosis. During this time he also ran track, however the season was cut short due to the war. It wouldn’t be until the 1970s when he received his letter sweater. He later recalled in his memoir, “The long-jump pit was so poorly maintained that, before I could jump, I had to get a rake and clean out the glass…” Years later, in 2006, he would see to it that the University of Cincinnati Track and Field team would have a state-of-the-art track complex by making a substantial financial contribution to the new Ben & Dee Gettler Stadium.
- Gettler begins his own family life, marrying Helen Deitsch. In 1950, they have a daughter, Jorian. Benjamin and Helen divorce shortly after in 1953. Two years later in 1955, he marries Ann Botts, with whom he has two more children, Tom in 1958 and Gail in 1960. Benjamin and Ann later divorce in 1972.
- Gettler graduates from Harvard University, and passes the Ohio Bar the following year in 1949. Gettler joins Jake Brown as a junior partner practicing labor law. The next year, J. W. Brown would become Brown & Gettler, located on the 14th floor of the Fountain Square Building. He would go on to work for and against many labor unions, including the Hotel and Restaurant Employees and Bartenders International Union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the American Association of University Professors, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. In 1959 Gettler would act as council for Thomas Luken in charges against Jimmy Hoffa, aiding Robert F. Kennedy in his investigation in Hoffa’s activities.
Jake Brown, fellow labor lawyer and eventual Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg, Benjamin Gettler
- After forming a partnership and slowly buying shares, Gettler, Lloyd Miller and Jake Brown own enough stock to control the Cincinnati Transit company (previously the Cincinnati Street Railway Company). Lloyd Miller is named Chairman of the Board, Jake Brown is named Chairman of the Executive Committee, and Gettler is named Secretary. Brown & Gettler become general counsel for Cincinnati Transit.
- Cincinnati Transit creates a subsidiary company, the Cincinnati Transit Company, and changes its name to American Controlled Industries. The Cincinnati Transit Company held all of the bus company assets, while American Controlled Industries held all of the stock. This reorganization enabled Gettler, Miller, and Brown to sell the transit operations to the city of Cincinnati more easily.
- Marriage to Dee Angel Gabriel. They met at the American Transit Association conference in Scottsdale, Arizona while Benjamin was representing Cincinnati Transit. She and her son John join Benjamin in Cincinnati. In 1977 they have a son, Benjamin.
Benjamin and Dee with John Glenn in Cincinnati, 1974
- The Cincinnati Transit Company, owned by American controlled Industries, is officially sold to the city of Cincinnati and now operated by the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority. Cincinnati Transit Company is renamed Metro. The Cincinnati Transit Company was the last privately owned transit system to be sold to a U.S. City.
- Gettler visits white house on invitation from President Ronald Reagan for a ceremony to remember and honor the victims of the holocaust.
- Gettler becomes Chairman of the Board for the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), a position of which he served until 1998. JINSA (now the Jewish Institute for the National Security of America) was formed in 1976 advocate for a strong American militaristic support for Israel and Israel-allied nations. During this time, Gettler visited nations such as Turkey, Ethiopia, and Uzbekistan to strengthen and maintain alliances between the United States, Israel, and each respective nation. He also lobbied aggressively with U.S. politicians to support these nations and Israel, as well as pursuing a national missile defense strategy.
- Gettler is appointed to the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees by Ohio Governor George Voinovich. He is charged with ensuring the quality of education at the university, responsible governance, fiscal responsibility, and upholding the ethical values. Gettler continued the trend of “doing more with less” throughout his nine-year term until 2003.
- On June 4, 2013, Benjamin Gettler dies. He is survived by his wife Dee, and children Jorian, Thomas, Gail, Benjamin, John; their partners and children. He is also remembered by the many organizations he served and countless friends, including United States Representative Brad Wenstrup, who delivered a touching tribute to his friend before the House of Representatives, recalling their time together playing pickup basketball, Gettler’s philosophies, and honoring his legacy of philanthropy.