We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Darling & Fischer Chapel of the Hills
Gretchen Oberhauser Bell was born on February 28, 1937 in Minneapolis, MN to Janette and Sylvester J. Oberhauser. She was the beloved younger sister of Peter John Oberhauser. The family enjoyed trips to the North Woods, West Coast and Iowa where they spent time with cousins and relatives nearly every summer.
Gretchen earned her Bachelor's degree in Home Economics from the University of Minnesota in 1959. Here she met some of her life-long friends who maintained their connections across the country to this day. Gretchen was an adventurous traveler and enjoyed trips to Asia and Europe with friends and family. She moved west in her mid-20s, and quickly fell in love with the warmth of sunny California.
She taught home economics in South San Francisco high school and Palo Alto. Gretchen greatly enjoyed the company of her family and friends in the Bay area. She met Kenneth Bell in her late 30s and they married in 1977. Her parents visited their home in California nearly every year during the winter season. These visits included time with a vibrant circle of friends and activities in the warmth of the Bay Area. Ken and Gretchen greatly enjoyed traveling and spending time with family and friends until his passing in 1996.
Gretchen was very active in Los Gatos and the surrounding area, engaging in book clubs, bridge groups, church fellowship and the Friends of Los Gatos Library. She met her companion Cooper Land in 2002 and continued to travel with him and visit family around the country and world.
She was a special aunt to her nieces and great nieces and nephews, a beloved step-mother and step-grandmother, and a wonderful neighbor. She was generous with her time and always welcoming to family and friends. Gretchen loved the arts and theater and was a frequent visitor to the local farmers’ market.
Gretchen passed away peacefully in her Los Gatos home with family and friends by her side. Even in her final days she continued to bring her loved ones together in community and joy. We are grateful to Gretchen’s extended family, neighbors and special friends for the love and care they provided over the years.
Gretchen is survived by her step-children, Karen (Robin) Phelps and Nolana Bell (Werner Dam); grandchildren, Timothy Phelps, Alysia Agnone, Tristan Synder and Meaghan Snyder; great grandchildren Mia and Nolan Agnone; sister-in-law, Sanny Oberhauser; nieces, Karen Oberhauser, Amy (Marty) Ball, Ann (Howard Guth) Oberhauser and Sara (Timothy) Babcock; great nieces and nephews, Amy (Eric Udelholfen) Alstad, Leah Alstad, Sarah Ball (Natalia Ospina Garcia), Alexa Ball, Benjamin Weiner, Frances Weiner, Peter Babcock (Catherine) and Bridget Babcock; and great-great nephews Frank Alstad and Ezra Babcock.
Friends and family are invited to send donations to an organization of your choice in memory of Gretchen’s lifelong generosity.
A celebration of life will be held at a future date.