Gretta Shipman Pallister (1918 - 2014)

  • "My mother and Gretta were fast Girl Scout friends, and I..."
    - Barbara Hobbs
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Gretta Shipman Pallister, 96, passed away on March 26th in Willoughby.
A memorial service and life celebration will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 6, 2014 at Willoughby United Methodist Church, 15 Public Square, Willoughby. The Reverends Donald R. Perks and Thomas A. Snyder will officiate at the service.
Born the first day of spring, 1918, on River Street in Willoughby, Gretta walked in the footsteps of her father, noted photographer and naturalist, C.M. Shipman. She was a lifelong conservationist, a watercolor artist, an enthusiastic supporter of the arts, and mentor to generations of young botanists, birders, and gardeners.
After graduating from Oberlin College, Gretta married Lt. Hugh D. Pallister, Jr., whom she had met at a meeting of the John Burroughs Nature Club of Willoughby. Gretta and Hugh, who died last September at the age of 100, lived at their River Street residence since the postwar 1940s.
Gretta was active in many civic activities in Willoughby, first as a troop leader of the Girl Scouts and later serving on many community boards. In 1975, she was named the Willoughby Distinguished Citizen of the Year. More recently, Gretta was instrumental in establishing the "Heart of Willoughby" and the now-thriving outdoor farmer's market at City Hall. Her efforts in helping to preserve a special place from her childhood, Gully Brook, resulted in the Lake MetroPark by that name. On a very local level, Gretta's garden and arboretum on River Street, which she and Hugh tended many long hours, became a Willoughby treasure.
Mrs. Pallister was also well-recognized regionally and statewide. She was inducted into the Ohio Conservation Hall of Fame, she received The Nature Conservancy's Oak Leaf Award for "exceptional impact on conservation" and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History's Conservation Award.
Gretta and her husband Hugh were enormously generous in their philanthropic support of many conservation efforts and educational institutions. These include Lake MetroParks, The Holden Arboretum, The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Burroughs Nature Club, Cleveland Botanical Garden, The Nature Conservancy, The Western Reserve Land Conservancy, Oberlin College and Case Western Reserve University.
In addition to her husband, Gretta was preceded by her parents, Charles M. and Clara (Cressey) Shipman and her brother Mulford.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Ohio Natural Areas and Preserves Association, P.O. Box 415, Johnstown, Ohio, 43031 ( or the Willoughby United Methodist Church Food Pantry, 15 Public Square, Willoughby, OH 44094.
Arrangements entrusted to Davis-Babcock Funeral Home, Willoughby.

Funeral Home
Davis-Babcock Funeral Home
4154 Clark Avenue Willoughby, OH 44094
(440) 942-1122
Funeral Home Details
Published in from Mar. 31 to Apr. 1, 2014