Gretchen Frances Sundius (1956-2021)
Gretchen F. Sundius (nee Smith) died while in hospital on Tuesday, April 14th, 2021 the result of early onset dementia.
Born on August 2nd, 1956 to Frank T. and Eileen F. (nee Wall) Smith in Brooklyn, New York Gretchen was their ninth of ten children. Her birth was the family’s impetus to move to Garden City. Sadly her mother died when she was only seven, but she was “adopted” by certain of her friends’ mothers and she honored them during her life by so caring for others.
She graduated from Queens College of the City University of New York. She met her husband Bob when working at Sears Roebuck in Great Neck (she was one of the last “catalogue brides”). They were married in 1978. For several years she worked in the Manhattan garment district. After her first two children were born Gretchen provided administrative support to the Board of Trustees of Long Island Jewish Medical Center, and then at Winthrop University Hospital held various administrative roles including in medical records and development, as well in several medical practices. She became disabled in late 2015.
Known for her social skills, the ability to make others relax and feel special, to remember personal details shared in conversations, and for her self-taught culinary and catering skills. Over the years she contributed her energies to various charities including Children’s’ Medical Fund, The Lutheran Church of the Resurrection and Winthrop Hospital charity events.
In addition to her parents, Gretchen is predeceased by four siblings: Lenore Thwing of Vermont, Francis T. Smith of North Carolina, Charles F. Smith of New Jersey and Eileen F. Smith-Donahue of Florida.
Gretchen is survived by Robert W. of Garden City and their three children Robert III with his wife Melissa and son Ethan of North Carolina, Samantha F. of New York City and Erik K. of Garden City, also by her siblings Howard F. Smith also of New York, Jeffrey F. Smith of New Jersey, Karen F. Nielsen of Virginia, Kenneth F. Smith of Florida and Timothy F. Smith of North Carolina.
Gretchen’s family extends its heartfelt thanks to all the healthcare workers and doctors associated with the NYU Langone Hospital in Mineola who attended to her in her final days.
Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (www.AFTD.org) or a charity of your choice.
A funeral Mass will be held at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church on Saturday, May 1st at 9:30a, the parish where Gretchen was christened, confirmed and married.
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