Gretchen Hohn Olson 1948- 2023

Gretchen Hohn Olson, 75, of Amity, Oregon, passed away November 19, 2023, in her home.

Gretchen was born June 5, 1948, in Portland, Oregon, to Jim and Phyllis Hohn. She was a second-generation Oregon State University Beaver and legacy member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority. She graduated in 1970 with a degree in Journalism. It was there she met her future husband, Phil Olson, on a blind date.

Before Phil and Gretchen were married in 1971, Gretchen was a Boeing 747 transatlantic flight attendant for TWA, living in a one-bedroom flat in Manhattan shared with six other young women when she wasn’t seeing the world. Eventually, Phil swept her off her feet with the grand gesture of shipping a gallon of Jamoca Almond Fudge ice cream via Fedex from Oregon to NYC. But mostly, it was the promise to be devoted to and love her until her last day—which he did.

Gretchen was a twice-published novelist and featured in many other publications from Victorian Magazine to Western Flyer—the latter fostered out of her love for aviation. Gretchen was Phil’s #1 co-pilot, navigator, and best right seat. Together they flew their small planes to many destinations across the western United States, Canada and deep into rural areas of Mexico with their two small daughters in the back seat.

In the early years of their marriage, you could find Gretchen on a tractor, grain truck or running strawberry harvests. Together they took their life on the farm from a wing and a prayer to a robust and sophisticated blueberry operation of which she was very proud. In her little free time, she worked as a catalog fashion model.

Gretchen had two children, and is survived by her older daughter, Ginny, son-in-law, Rick, and grandchildren, Ethan and Annie Gardea, of Canby, Oregon; her younger daughter, Julia, son-in-law, Rob, and grandchildren, Bianca and Emery Sharp, of Burns, Oregon. She is survived by her brother, Robert Hohn, and his wife, Pietr Young, of Florence, Oregon, and another brother, Peter Hohn, and his wife, Chris Feldt, of Sante Fe, New Maxico. Lastly, she is survived by her beloved husband, Phil Olson of Amity, Oregon, with whom she celebrated 52 years of high-flying adventure.

In her role as a mother and grandmother, she created a world of imagination and inspired curious and courageous thinking in her daughters and grandchildren. She fostered a love of nature. Play was a love language for her grandchildren: running through sprinklers, perfecting the art of fort-building, scavenger hunts and storytelling. She served as a Bluebird and Camp Fire Girls of America leader. She hauled kids to every sport and never missed a game.

In addition to her family, she loved finding the perfect seashell, crocuses in spring, feeding her wild birds, reading, writing, a good game of Canasta, the sun on her face and strolling the oak knoll with her puppy, Piper.

Gretchen is also survived by family members and friends, too many to count. She was a philanthropist with the heart of a poet. She loved deeply and was deeply loved by others. If so moved, donations in her honor may be made to the Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting project, of which she was a board member, or Campfire Camp Namanu, where she discovered the wonder of the woods and was youthful, careless and free.

Finding meaning in the world was important to Gretchen, and we would be remiss to not seek such in her passing. Depression was her familiar companion. It walked with her in life and carried her into death. For those struggling, reach for a lifeline by calling 800-273-TALK (8255) or text 988. You are not alone.

A celebration of life will be announced by the family at a future date.


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