Gretchen Pauline Hoover, 20-year resident of Sugar Camp, left this world Jan. 21, 2021, to further explore the universe. Recently residing at Milestone Senior Living, Woodruff, she is finding peace after battling serious health issues and finally, COVID 19.
A supersized personality packed into a scant five-foot tall, small package, Gretchen was a force to be reckoned with. Feisty, fearless, plain spoken, no nonsense, she spoke her truth, defended her causes with passion and cared deeply for those she loved.
Everything piqued her interest - art, music, movies (all genres), board games (competitive? Hell-o), sports of all kinds, politics and books - especially books!
Rarely was Gretchen seen without a bulging backpack, slung over her "vertically challenged" frame, carrying a variety of books, ready to share. An integral part of an intimate circle of loyal trusted "readers" from Sugar Camp, she shared her strong opinions but tempered them with tolerance and respect; never one to refrain from heated discussions, her bluntness could sting. You could be mad as heck at Gretchen one minute and laughing with her the next.
Indeed, Gretch was a study in contradictions. She was a very private person who loved people; one who relished an excellent meal but hated to cook; a wine connoisseur who seldom imbibed; a conservative dresser who would intentionally wear colorful, mismatched socks.
Gretchen was a loving caregiving to her mother as she aged. When dealing with her own health issues she was the grateful recepient of compassionate care from her indefatigable cousin, Karen Widule, Sugar Camp friends, especially the incredibly reliable "transportation specialist" John Langland, friend Christine Bremer Muggli and frequent visitor, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin.
Gretchen loved the challenge of political debate. She was known to savor a good debate with those whose positions did not comport with her own. Her ability to articulate compelling arguments and her tireless efforts for candidates who she supported made her a legend in the Democratic Party, both locally and nationally.
Gretchen served in leadership positions in the Wisconsin Democratic Party and as a delegate in numerous state and and congressional conventions. She was also a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2016 in Philadelphia.
Her work earned her a position on the prestigious L PAC, a political action committee dedicated to creating a place and a voice at the power table by endorsing candidates who were committed to women's equality and social justice. Being a successful gay woman lawyer, Gretchen understood the difficulties of those who would suffer discrimination due to status and worked to help those who followed her in the profession.
Beyond politics, Gretchen was engaged in her local community by serving on the Nicolet College Foundation Board to raise money for scholarships for deserving students.
Gretchen spent her youth in Oklahoma, graduating from Putnam City High School, Oklahoma State University (BA English), Oklahoma City University (JD). Prior to retiring to Sugar Camp, she was Assistant Counsel at Gateway, Inc. (contract law).
Predeceasing Gretchen were parents Charles and Alphild (nee Malmberg) Hoover, half-brother Richard "Dick", spouse Judy Hoover, and special second cousin, kindred spirit, Anissa Marie Widule. Surviving are twin brother James C. (Jane) Hoover, Chandler, Texas; first cousins, Karen (David) Widule, Sugar Camp and Linda Hoppe, Racine; second cousins, Bradley (Tracie) Widule, Brian Widule, Sugar Camp and Heather Hoppe-Ferg, Forsyth, Mo.
A celebration of life will take place post Covid at Sugar Camp Lake. Memorials may be donated in Gretchen's name to the ACLU, Wisconsin.
A final comment from Gretchen to cousin Linda, "I had a good run." Yes, Gretchen, you did, and you did it your way.
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