Sister Gretchen Kunz died at Rosary Care Center on All Souls Day, November 2, 2014, two years after her retirement to the Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania Ohio. Sister Gretchen, the daughter of Frederick and Jessie Lee Kunz, was born on May 9, 1939 in Toledo, Ohio and entered the Sisters of St. Francis convent in Sylvania on June 17, 1957, after graduating from Central Catholic High School. She professed her First Vows on August 10, 1960.
Sister Gretchen was a teacher, nurse, administrator, leader and visionary in health care for the 52 years she ministered to the People of God in Michigan, Ohio and primarily Texas. She always had new ideas and knew how to pick the right people to get things done. She worked as a nurse and nurse supervisor at the former Providence Hospital in Sandusky, Ohio for 16 years. She met her biggest challenges and successes at St. Joseph Hospital in Bryan, Texas where she helped change a small hospital into a network of health care services covering a 12-county area of central Texas, known today as St. Joseph Health System. After stepping down as President and CEO of the Health System for 24 years in 2005 she continued on as senior development officer for the St. Joseph Foundation for seven more years until her retirement in 2012.
As a Sister of St. Francis, Sister Gretchen was well prepared for her ministries. She had an A.A. degree from Lourdes Junior College in Sylvania, Ohio, a BA and B.S.N. from Mary Manse College in Toledo, Ohio, a M.Ed. from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio and a M.H.A. from Xavior Unversity in Cincinnati. Sister Gretchen was a lifelong learner and continued that unquenchable desire by learning Spanish and Braille in her retirement. She believed that “there is no end to getting better.”
Those who knew and worked with Sister Gretchen saw her as a visionary in health care. She truly cared about the poor and the sick. Sister was a woman of many talents who put them to work in the service of others. She was someone who influenced people with her good and positive effort to always do better. Sister Gretchen will be greatly missed by her family and friends and Sisters in community.
A Book of Remembrance for Sister Gretchen, provided by Callaway-Jones Funeral Home and Crematory, is available in the Chapel on the first floor of St. Joseph Regional Health Center for the friends and acquaintances to sign. The Chapel is open 24 hours a day. Welcoming Home service will be 6pm on Sunday, November 9 at Queen of Peace Chapel. Funeral Mass will be at 4PM, Monday, November 10, at Queen of Peace Chapel, Sylvania, Ohio.