September 26, 1927 – July 10, 2019
Gretchen Buenger Leppke, 91, passed away peacefully on July 10, 2019 with loving husband, Del of 63 years, by her side. Gretchen was born on September 26, 1927 in Rochester, Mn. She is survived by her beloved husband, Delbert Leppke, their two children, Kevin and Karen, two grandchildren, Ian and Candice and two great grandchildren, Oliver and Katherine. Gretchen attended elementary and high school in Rochester and graduated as an architect from the University of Minnesota in 1950. Before joining Ellerbe Architects in Rochester, she traveled to Sweden with Student Program for Amity among Nations to spend six months living with a family. On her way home, she visited several European countries. Shortly after her return, she moved to New York City where she met and married Del in 1955. They moved to Evanston in 1956 and then to Deerfield before settling back in Evanston with their two children in 1966. During her many years in Evanston, Gretchen was active in the Republican Club and the Evanston chapter of the American Association of University Women. She was a member of Grace Lutheran Church and later St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. She devoted her time in the Altar Guild and the local women group of the Evangelical Lutheran Church In America. Gretchen found her calling after graduating with a Master’s in Feminine Theology from the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, dedicating her career to being an advocate of women in the Lutheran Church. One of her first positions was to work alongside a nun at the Uptown Mission’s “The Blue House” raising the role of women in their respective churches. Gretchen and Del traveled extensively throughout the world. Gretchen having been to Sweden before many Americans went to Europe especially women, loved exploring countries just opened to visitors from other countries and finding out about their cultures and traditions. They traveled to China, Bhutan, Soviet Union, Iran and Oman in the 70s and 80s. When they returned home, Gretchen would invite friends and neighbors to share these adventures. Even as they aged, they continued to travel throughout the USA and the rest of the world. They connected with their families in Denmark, Norway, and various areas of Germany, especially around Dresden. Combining her love of travel and her advocacy to women, Gretchen set out on a journey to show the similarities of women around the world by documenting, recording and producing a short movie called “Rhythms and Rituals” capturing the lives of women from Bhutan, China, Kenya, Korea, The Philippines, America, England and Zimbabwe to name a few. She attended 2 UN sponsored International Conferences of Women, Nairobi (1985) and Beijing (1995) where she established life-long friendships of women from around the world. Gretchen loved God and her family. She advocated for the women of the world and the plight of the Palestinian Churches. She read extensively about women in the Bible and loved discussions of how women played important roles throughout religious history. She enjoyed going to the theater and watching football on TV - Go Gophers! She appreciated conversing with all types of people and learning about who they were. During her final years, she maintained her caring and generous character with others in the Presbyterian Home and in return was cherished. Her family would like to express their extreme gratitude to the aides, nurses, doctors and all her caregivers for their care during the final years of her life.
Donation information Please inform one of the family when you have donated. Kevin Leppke: email@example.com Karen Ralph: firstname.lastname@example.org Del Leppke: email@example.com Gretchen has 2 organizations to which donations can be given in memory of her. You can donate via their websites or by check 1. Lutheran Schools of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land Website: elcjhl.com Webpage: community.elca.org steps to donate: community.elca.org>one time donations>+ I would like to choose an area for this gift to support>Lutheran Schools in the Holy Land> +This donation is in honor/memory of someone> Gretchen Leppke 2. Gannon Center for Women and Leadership at Loyola University Website site: luc.edu Steps to donate: luc.edu>give to Gannon>make a gift>tribute gifts>Gretchen Leppke Or you can send a check: Payable to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church In the memo section: Gretchen- Schools or Gretchen-Women Please give/send the check to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church 1004 Greenwood St Evanston, IL. 60202 We are grateful for your support to these organizations in memory of Gretchen.
St. Paul's Lutheran Church
1004 Greenwood St.
St. Paul's Lutheran Church
1004 Greenwood St.
Memorial Park Cemetery
9900 Gross Point Rd.
3200 Grant St.
July 21, 2019
Gretchen was so dedicated to her work for the Palestinian people and their justice issues which I totally appreciated of her. Thank you for her work which has helped be a leader for working group on the Middle East.
July 15, 2019
Uncle Del, Kevin, Karen and families, Our prayers go out to you all for comfort in this time of sorrow. Our thoughts of happy times with your family give us peace. Bryan, Traci and family
July 14, 2019
Uncle Del, Kevin,Karen and families. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Such good memories of time spent with your family in Chicago ! I will remember Aunt Gretchen for her infectious laugh and smile, which she was quick to share with those around her. Love to you all.
July 13, 2019
Uncle Del, Kevin, Karen and families, My heart goes out to you and sending prayers for comfort during this time of grieving. Aunt Gretchen was a role model as I was growing up of an intelligent strong women with a voice against social injustice and a strong faith. She walks with our Lord now but has left a large footprint here on earth.