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Gretchen Lee Tonkin


1962 - 2019 Obituary Condolences
Gretchen Lee Tonkin Obituary
Gretchen Lee Tonkin, age 56, passed away March 5, 2019 from complications of pneumonia. She was born July 19, 1962 at Lodi Memorial Hospital to parent's Donald and Andrea Tonkin. Due to a premature birth with complications, Gretchen was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
Gretchen enjoyed a life full of activities living at home with her parents and sister Gayle (Bill Litz). Gretchen is also "Aunti G" to nieces Megan and Emily, nephew Jordan Litz, and "Great-Aunti" to baby Abigail.
As a member of a large family on her mother's side (MacDannald of Modesto), G has many aunts, uncles, cousins and dad's parents (Modesto) with many, and frequent family activities.
Education and therapy for disabled children known as Crippled Children Services guided our family with medical advice and exercises in G's early years.
Another therapy program, described as "Patterning," was introduced at age 3 to be performed at home. Gretchen was blessed with friends throughout the Community who were eager to assist with her therapy exercises. Helpers were many of parent's friends, church friends, and Lodi High School students, many of whom went on to study various Medical Degrees from this experience.
At age six, Gretchen was enrolled in a small day program in Stockton and began daily busing in the little yellow Volkswagens with Turnbull & Turnbull Transportation. Later a new program, Walton Development Center was established, where Gretchen attended for many years with her friends, and graduated on her 22nd birthday. Gretchen then enrolled at United Cerebral Palsy, Adult Day Activity Program, transporting with MV Bus Company, where she has attended to date, and where she has made many Life Time Friends with fellow students, staff, and bus drivers.
Our Family is deeply grateful for the guidance and support of Valley Mountain Regional Center staff, San Joaquin County staff, and Gretchen's personal medical staff. We are thankful for two Ladies, Isha and Ashanti, who supported Gretchen and her mom daily for many years.
Gretchen is preceded in death by her new-born brother Gary David (1961) and father Don (2002). In lieu of flowers, if you choose, contributions may be made to UCP or .
A Chapel Service will be held at St Peter Lutheran Church, Saturday, March 16, 12:00 noon, with a reception following.
Published in Lodi News-Sentinel from Mar. 14 to Mar. 21, 2019
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