Our mom, wife, sister, grandma, great-grandma, aunt, sister-in-law, friend & mentor to many passed away on July 29, 2020. Gretchen was born in Cordova, AK on June 26, 1932, to Herluf & Elizabeth Christensen. She was predeceased by her parents, husband of 65 years, Ray, brothers James & Donald.
She was a proud 1950 Stadium High grad. Co-chairing reunion committees.
Mom had various jobs, her most important being the raising of us five kids & getting dad off to work on time. She was a devout Catholic and made sure that we were always enrolled in parochial schools. Over the years, she was a member of Tacoma's St Patrick’s, Holy Cross, & St Charles parishes & for 30 years was a member of Sacred Heart parish in Enumclaw, WA. If she missed any of our athletic endeavors it was not many and she was our biggest fan, often driving the whole team to and from games.
When we all were of school age she began working part time at the University of Puget Sound. She worked in several departments before joining the Athletic Department, managing the concession stands for the Memorial Field House where she became the “Hot Dog Queen”. This was before the Tacoma Dome graced our horizon, so it was the go to place for essentially all indoor athletic events, concerts, home shows, & the annual Shrine Circus, etc., a pretty busy place! Between the five of us & all our friends she never lacked man(kid)power. Yes, employment laws were pretty loose in those days. She was promoted to the Business Manager & served for a decade as its “heart and soul” & was known as a “shrewd manager” – after all, she could spot a bargain a mile away. In 1984 she was bestowed the much distinguished College Business Management Assoc. George Eldridge Distinguished Award. The only Logger to ever do so.
Mom had many involvements, always running off to one meeting or another. Be it the “Mothers Club”, the Daffodilian’s or whatever opportunities came her way. One could always count on her to be at least a participant or better yet taking charge.
Her home was the gathering place for friends & family whether it be for her Tacoma, Greenwater or UPS “families”. Our home was always open to athletes & staff that were far from home. You never knew who may be sitting across the table from you but we were happy to have fellow guinea pigs to share her boundless new recipes. She made many strong connections during those days that remain today.
Mom loved playing board games; working puzzles & was a mean scrabble player. If her phone rang between 7-8pm weeknights the caller would get a curt “don’t you know Jeopardy is on?!”. But her passion was bridge & she truly cherished her fellow card players.
Scottsdale, Palm Springs, & Cannon Beach, were mom’s other happy places. She traveled wherever/whenever she had the opportunity.
She is survived by sister, Beth Bucsko (Don), brothers Dick (Patty) & Tom, sister-in-law Mary; daughters, Patti Turner (Mark Shingledecker), Julie Moore (Tom), Joe (Karin), Matt (Maureen) & Danny (Janet), 15 grandchildren & 8 great-grandchildren, her Greenwater family & numerous friends she held dear.
Because of Covid 19 her wish for a proper “send off” will have to wait until summer 2021 when we hold a memorial that will do her proud.
Mom died as she lived, giving it her all.
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