Gretchen Marie Lichau
January 25, 1920-March 8, 2018
Resident of San Jose
Gretchen Lichau, a longtime resident of San Jose, passed away peacefully on March 8 with family members by her side. Her somewhat sudden passing came less than two months after the celebration of her 98th birthday.
Gretchen is survived by her son Gary (Sandy) Lichau of San Jose; her sister Gertrude Philipp of Petaluma; her son-in-laws Ron Schultz of Rainer, Washington, and Dick Sparrer (Natalie) of San Jose; her grandchildren Matt (Amy) Schultz of Oregon, Eric (Theresa) Schultz of Washington, Jim (Elizabeth) Lichau of Campbell, Mike (Kelly) Sparrer of San Jose, Wendy (Shawn) Bankson of Dublin and Kevin (Chadia) Sparrer of Morgan Hill; her great-grandchildren Sydney Antol, Cooper and Cameron Bankson, Norah Lichau and Mackenzie Sparrer; and numerous nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her husband Arthur Lichau, her daughters Judy Schultz and Randee Sparrer, and her brother Gottfried Stonitsch.
Gretchen was born in San Jose to parents Mathias and Ada Stonitsch. When she was just 2 years old, her family moved to Petaluma, where she attended Cinnabar Grammar School, Petaluma Junior High School and Petaluma High School. She graduated high school in 1938, the same year that she met Arthur Lichau. They were married on March 16, 1941, at Grace Evangelical Church in Petaluma. Her three children—Judith Ann, Gary Ray and Randee Jo—were each born in Petaluma before the family moved to San Jose in 1959.
Gretchen worked for 25 years as the manager of a group of gift shops in Cambrian Park, Willow Glen and South San Jose. In retirement, she and Art enjoyed traveling in their motor home to visit friends and family members. She was an avid games player, enjoying many different card games as well as board games. She was also proficient in her ability to assemble even the most complex jigsaw puzzles.
Most of all, she loved spending time with her family. She was a regular at all of the events where her grandchildren participated, especially as her grandsons’ baseball games where her scorecard was the go-to place for anyone who wanted to know the score of the game. Always a sports fan (thanks in no small part to Art’s avid interest in athletics), in recent years she became an avid fan of the Golden State Warriors and San Jose Sharks.
Services will be held on Friday, March 16, at Darling & Fischer Chapel of the Hills, 615 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos. Viewing at 11:30 a.m., services at 12:30 p.m. Interment to follow at Los Gatos Memorial Park. She will be laid to rest alongside of her husband, Art, on the day of their 77th wedding anniversary.