Cover photo for Gretta Weidenhammer's Obituary
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Gretta

Gretta Weidenhammer

d. October 15, 2010

a lover of people, animals, and all living things, passed away at her home on Bainbridge Island on Friday, October 15th. She was 62.Gretta had a love of life and its playful details...She relished understanding and describing the world to all. As a very young child Gretta took in an abandoned litter of kittens and nursed them back to health in a shoebox hidden in her closet. Traveling family and friends always turned to Gretta as a considerate and gracious host who made them feel at home wherever they were. Whether it was exploring the tidal flats behind her childhood home in Southport, CT,taking in a stray or abused dog, or tending her garden, she was a steward of life in all its forms - family and friends, plants, and animals.The first half of her life was as diverse as her conversation topics. Gretta and her family embodied the changes in American culture from the early 20th century through the 1970's. In the golden age of radio, both her father (Carlton Weidenhammer (Warren)) and mother (Edith Weidenhammer) were professionally involved in entertainment and communications - her father being an announcer and director of WOR radio in New York City and her mother playing piano professionally on the radio and then teaching piano. As a 16 year old student at Dana Hall in Wellesley, MA, Gretta witnessed the beginning of the British Invasion attending the Ed Sullivan Show for the Beatles American premiere. Post college, Gretta lived the changing America we watch weekly in the television series Mad Men, as an employee at Ogilvy & Mather Advertising. As Gretta changed, so did the social mores of our country, trading the glamour of Madison Avenue in Manhattan for the counterculture living of California in the Bay Area in 1970. In the late 1970's, Gretta moved to Washington State, married, and started a family. While her life looked different, she was still involved in major conversations of the time. Her second child was born with a disability. As momentum grew in the 1980's for the Americans with Disabilities Act, she advocated for equal education for her daughter and others in both her parenting and in her work for the University of Washington early childhood education program for deaf and hard of hearing. During this time, her mother moved to Washington State to be closer to family. Their relationship changed over time with Edith at first being a dedicated grandmother but at the end of her life, required a great deal of loving care from Gretta.Later in life she spent time alone as a steward of her animals and her property on Bainbridge Island, connecting with others from all walks of life through long phone conversations, and practicing unconditional love on a daily basis. One of her cousins accurately captured how many felt, "Gretta was like a warm blanket and could make everything seem better."She is survived by her brother, John Weidenhammer, former husband, Bill Agnew, children, Lindsay Agnew and Chris Agnew, daughter in-law, Lara McCluskey, and grandson, Blue Agnew.Family and friends are respectfully invited to attend the Memorial Service on Sunday, November 14, 2010 at 1:00 pm at Grace Episcopal Church on Bainbridge Island. A reception will follow at the church.If you want to contribute to Gretta's memory, please send flowers to the ceremony or make a donation to either PAWS of Kitsap County or National Public Radio) of Seattle in Gretta's name.

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