Mary "Francine" (Hupke) Gretch, a retired registered nurse, died of natural causes Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, at Peace Hospice. She was 92. She was born Mary Francine Hupke on May 6, 1931, to Bernard "Ben" and Lucille (Rauterkus) Hupke in Danbury, Iowa, graduating in 1949 from Mapleton High School. She went on to receive her degree from St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing in Sioux City, Iowa, and began her nursing career at St. Mary's Hospital in Minneapolis.
At a wedding of friends, Francine met Richard "Dick" Gretch, whose idea of a first date was to help him wash his car. Despite this auspicious beginning, they married Dec. 28, 1953.
Francine put her career on hold to start raising a family when she and Dick welcomed their first child, Barbara, and moved to Glendive, Mont., where Dick taught at Dawson County High School. In 1961, the family moved to Great Falls, where Dick became dean of students at the then-College of Great Falls.
After her last child was old enough, she completed a refresher course and returned to nursing at Columbus and Benefis hospitals, where she was known as an excellent nurse and mentor. During a hospitalization earlier this year, a nurse she had trained actually remembered her as one of the best-liked nurses and teachers she had ever known. A devoted homemaker who overcame challenges with resilience, she also possessed a humorous and playful side. She enjoyed camping, doing puzzles, and was an avid Packers fan.
Francine is survived by her children, Barb (Doug) Moen of Chandler, Ariz., Michael Gretch of Los Angeles, Judy Gretch of Great Falls, David (Lisa Thomassen) Gretch of Issaquah, Wash., Gary (Kathy Schultz) Gretch of Port Orchard, Wash., James (Cathy) Gretch of Great Falls, and Daniel (Deonne Corne) Gretch of Sonora, Calif.; numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.
To read the complete obituary and share condolences, click here to visit the Schnider Funeral Home website.