(Gertrude) Gretchen (Ferring) Sanchez, age 98, died peacefully at Thornton Manor in Lansing, IA, on April 25, 2017. Gretch was born to Nick and Rose Gertrude (Doehler) Ferring in Center township rural Lansing. She attended country school for 7 years and then Immaculate Conception school, graduating in 1936. She worked in Milwaukee and Racine before joining the Women’s Army Air Corp. During WWII she was stationed in Goose Bay Labrador where she did decoding. After the war, her adventurous spirit lead her to a job in Japan where she met Airman Gilbert Sanchez. Upon their return to the states, they were married in Albuquerque, NM, Gilbert’s hometown. They had two children and were later divorced. Gretch returned to her home on Main Street in Lansing to care for her parents. She worked at Peterson’s book store and did sewing in her home, making a name for herself as an exquisite seamstress, quilter, and knitter. She worked for over 18 years in civilian finance at Fort McCoy in Tomah, WI, retiring in 1983. She was a proud member of VFW Post 5981 in Lansing.
Her last years were spent at Thornton Manor where she was very content due to the loving care from the dedicated staff. The family sincerely appreciates everyone at Thornton Manor for their wonderful compassion. Thanks to Pat Keenan and Rick Welch for being such helpful neighbors. Special thanks to Lynn Feuerhelm and Shannon Roberts for their true friendship and many visits over the years, and a very heartfelt thanks to Sam and Betty Bell for their love, attention, and thoughtfulness. Gretch is survived by one son, James (Rita) of La Crosse; one daughter, Mary Howard of Menomonie, WI; four grandsons, John (Kristine) Sanchez of Onalaska, WI; Anthony (Heather) Sanchez of Temecula, CA; Dominic (Billie) Howard of Hudson, WI; and Justin (Amy) Howard of Frisco, CO; and seven great-grandchildren, Thomas, Emily, McKayla, and Sammy Sanchez and Heather and Chandler Howard, and Luke Howard; one sister-in-law Margaret Ferring of Lansing; and treasured nieces and nephews—Paul’s children Pat (Mary) Ferring, Don (Margie) Ferring, Marion (Dennis) Gavin, Roseann (Ken) Marks, Mike (Vickie) Ferring, and Linda (Brent) Munson; and Bob’s children Kathy (Leo) Conway, Virginia (Mike) O’Hare, Lavonne (Tom) Callahan, Cindy (Jim) Callahan, Laurie (George) Manning, Pam (Randy) Smith, and Robin (David) Johnson.
She was preceded in death by her parents; two brothers, Paul and Robert; two sisters-in-law, Katherine and Edith Ferring; and her former husband, Gilbert.
Mass of Christian Burial will be 11:00 am on Saturday, April 29, 2017 at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Lansing, Iowa with Rev. John Moser and Msgr. Ed Lechtenberg as the Concelebrants. There will be a visitation before Mass from 9:30 am until time of service.
Burial will follow at Gethsemane Cemetery in Lansing, Iowa.
Thornburg-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service, Lansing, Iowa is helping the family with arrangements.