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Gretchen McBroom died Tuesday, July 18, 2017, quietly at her home in Missoula.
Gretchen Kay Greiner was born July 19, 1936, the only child of Earl and Barbara Greiner. Gretchen grew up in Columbus, Ohio, where she attended North High School. Gretchen had many friends in the Columbus area and was a member of various clubs and a high school sorority. She sang in the First Community Churches Girls’ Choir, and met a very influential high school music teacher who mentored her, starting a lifelong singing career.
Gretchen attended Ohio State University, earning her bachelor of science in physical therapy. Gretchen’s passion however, was music. She performed in many music productions while attending Ohio state including a lead role in the musical “Kiss Me, Kate”. It was also during this time that she met the love of her life, William (Bill) Harris McBroom whom she was married to for over 54 years. Gretchen and Bill had three children, William Sean, Kenneth Andrew and Douglas Greiner McBroom, all born in Columbus, Ohio.
Gretchen and Bill moved to Missoula in 1968 when Bill accepted a position at the University of Montana. During Gretchen’s working years, she assisted handicapped students at Prescott and Rattlesnake elementary schools. She also worked for the University of Montana in the controller’s office. Her most important work accomplishment was that Gretchen was the first Lamaze teacher in Montana, teaching for many years, and developed very close, lifelong relationships with her students.
Singing brought joy to Gretchen’s life. She sang in many recitals, the Missoula Symphony Chorale, the Episcopal Church Choir, and the “Group,” which performed many operas. Gretchen studied music all of her adult life, and was thrilled to participate with the University of Montana’s School of Music in many events and performances. Much to the delight of her family, Gretchen would practice at home with her grand piano, hours upon end. Often unbeknownst to Gretchen, her family would gather close by to listen. One of her most memorable moments was performing in Carnage Hall in New York with the Missoula Symphony Chorale.
Gretchen loved her children and grandchildren. She always made time for her family. She would travel great distances to watch her loved ones’ events. From cross-country and football to triathlons and jujitsu, Gretchen would always make her children’s and grandchildren’s events her priority. Gretchen was a loving and caring mother and grandmother. More importantly, she serves as a role model to her children and grandchildren.
Gretchen was preceded in death by her father Earl, and mother Barbara, her son, Kenneth, and her loving husband Bill. She is survived by her two sons: Sean and daughter-in-law, Leslie of Puyallup, Washington, grandchildren Jordan, Shannon, Ryan, Kimberly Dexter and Joe Dexter, and her other son Douglas and daughter-in-law, Jennifer of Helena and grandchildren Alex, AJ, and Abby.
Services will be held at the Holy Spirit Episcopal Church on Thursday, July 27, at 10:30 a.m. with a reception to follow. Burial will be held at the Sunset Memorial Gardens at 12:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made to the Kenneth Andrew McBroom Memorial Scholarship, UM School of Music.
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