Gretchen Gerhardt Sewell
Gretchen Gerhardt Sewell, 81, of Reno, Nev., passed away peacefully on Nov. 17 with family and friends by her side after a courageous battle with breast cancer. Born in Tecumseh, Neb., “Gretty” was raised in Reno, where she met her husband (the late) A.W. “Buster” Sewell. They were high school sweethearts, who later married.
Standing a mere 5’2”, Gretty had a vibrant, entertaining personality and truly was the hostess with the mostess. Known for her lively fondue parties, sumptuous bundt cakes and late-night dinners (because she was so busy socializing that she wouldn’t get the meal started on time), Gretty was generous, kind and fun.
Growing up, she attended Reno High School, where she was a Huskiette in the marching band playing piccolo and flute. For 33 years, she was employed by Nevada Bell (Ma Bell). She married the love of her life, Buster. They travelled the world together to destinations such as Australia, China, Hong Kong, Bali and Thailand. Being avid skiers, they attended the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria. The couple volunteered at numerous ski races as gates-keeper timers and always encouraged kids of all ages to ski. Gretty loved the Atlantis Casino, where you could always find at her favorite machines.
To say that the couple were super fans of the Nevada Wolfpack football team is putting it mildly. As season ticket holders, “Go Pack!” was regularly heard in the Sewell homes in both Reno and Big Sky, Mont. And what homes she made. You see, the most important thing to Gretty was family. She was the matriarch and brought love, joy and happiness to raising and loving her children and grandchildren.
True to her spirit, her time in Big Sky, Gretty and Buster regularly gathered friends together to celebrate birthdays, golf tourneys, bowling tournaments, dances and pretty much life in general. Known for over 30 years to donate her time and efforts towards the annual Easter Egg Hunt at the Corral Bar and Grill, she provided hundreds of Big Sky children with bunnies to take home each year at Easter time. Buster and Gretchen thoroughly loved seeing the joy they brought to so many children and adults.
Gretty is pre-deceased by her husband Buster and her daughter, Randy Ryan Sundquist. She is survived by her sister Barbara Gallaway (Ron) of Reno; her daughter Kimi Hinkel (Gordon) of Reno; her step daughter Vicki Erickson of Reno. Lovingly known as “Mimi” to her surviving grandchildren: Ryan Sundquist (Nicole) of Austin, Texas; Lauren Filsinger (Colin) of Reno; Morgan Dusek (Shay) of Reno; Blake Hinkel of Reno and three great granddaughters: Kaylee, Cadence and Amelia as well as numerous friends and family in Reno and Big Sky.
The family would like to acknowledge the staff of the third floor oncology unit of St. Mary’s, the St. Mary’s Hospice staff and her personal home-care givers.
Private services will be held. Donations can be made in Gretchen’s name to Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. An online guest book is available through the O’Brien-Rodgers & Crosby Funeral Home: waltonsfuneralhomes.com.