Gretchen was born in Decorah, Iowa, on June 7, 1950, and passed away at her home in rural LaCrosse, Wisconsin, on August 31, 2019, at age 69.
She spent many happy years in the Decorah school system with her West Side friends--from kindergarten through high school graduation in 1968.
After graduating from Fairview College of Nursing in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Gretchen held a variety of specialized positions as a registered nurse throughout her career,
and established life-long friendships during those years.
Survivors: sister - Corinne Whalen (Jack); niece - Dawn Smith (Lynn) and sons, Cary and Ryan; niece - Rachel Fulton (Iain) and children, Caelan and Elsa; several dear cousins and cousins-in-law.
Preceeded in Death: father - Norman E. Ellingson; mother - Ethel (De Buhr) Ellingson; brother - Paul J. Ellingson.
Gretchen was known for her creativity and "Can-Do" attitude and for caring about people, which lead to her nursing career. She would want her family, cousins, friends, neighbors, service people and Gundersen Clinic Medical Personnel to know how much she loved and appreciated them. She was especially thankful for her cousin, Mary Pesta, and neighbors, Jerry and Elaine Bouska, who were always available to be of assistance whenever needed.
Gretchen's three "rescued" cats were taken to Driftless Humane Society, 1150 Nelson Parkway, Viroqua, Wisconsin 54639 (Phone # 608-637-6955). Contributions in Gretchen's name to this caring, no-kill, animal facility or to the Humane Society of Northeast Iowa (HSNEI) in Decorah, Iowa (Phone # 563-382-0500) would be a meaningful memorial, and very much appreciated.
A special thank you to Mark Seland, Director of Seland Funeral Home in Coon Valley, Wisconsin, for his cremation services and his caring guidance and availability.
Honoring Gretchen's wishes, there will be no memorial service, and burial will be private.
To send flowers to Gretchen's family, please visit our floral section.