Gretchen Thomas was born Gretchen Work in Niagara Falls, N.Y, on September 3, 1935 to Paul and Murnie (Marion Ellsmore) Work, and passed away on May 31, 2021 of congestive heart and lung failure in Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee, Calif.
She attended grade school and La Salle High School in Niagara Falls.
After graduation in 1953 from High School she attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. She transferred to Buffalo University in Buffalo, New York in her sophomore year to major in Nursing and graduated in 1957.
Her first employment, as a nurse, was at Millard Fillmore Hospital in Buffalo, N.Y. She was married to Bruce Banks in October of 1957. They had four boys, Bret, Britan, Braden and Barton while living in Buffalo.
In 1967 the family moved to Lancaster California where they bought the 4B Ranch on the West side of Lancaster. Gretchen had a long career as a nurse at many of the health care facilities in the Antelope Valley including the Los Angeles County Hospital – Mira Loma, Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster and Palmdale General Hospital.
In 1973 the family sold the 4B Ranch and relocated into Lancaster. A divorce in 1977 left Gretchen with four teenage boys to raise while working as a single parent and full time nurse.
Late in 1977 she married Garfield Thomas and they resided with the boys in Lancaster until each of the boys grew up and attended colleges in San Diego and San Luis Obispo. Gretchen retired from nursing in 1980.
Over her lifetime here, she was active in numerous civic and charitable organizations with her favorite being the Children’s Hospital Guild. Gretchen also served a term on the City of Lancaster Planning Commission advising the City Council on policies related to planning, land use regulation, and community development.
In 2014 Gretchen and Garfield sold their home in Lancaster and moved permanently to their cabin at Donner Lake, Calif., (Town of Truckee).
Gretchen is survived by her husband Garfield and their four sons: Bret (Suzanne Chaney) Banks of Lancaster, Britan (Candace Engdahl) Banks of Boulder, Colorado, Braden Banks of Denver, Colorado and Barton (Heather Demrow) Banks of Boulder, Colorado along with nine grand- children and five great grandchildren.
Gretchen was an intelligent, warm, friendly and outgoing lady who loved life. She was known for her sharp wit, fantastic sense of humor and unwavering positive outlook on life. She will be enormously missed by her entire family and all who knew her.