Gretchen Jane Maren (nee Falk), PhD, age 84, of Naperville, Illinois passed away peacefully on Sunday, May 30, 2021, at Sunrise Senior Living after a year's long struggle with Parkinson's disease and complications from a fall.
Gretchen was born in Detroit, Michigan on April 27, 1937, the daughter of Dr. Elwin Carl and Clara Jane Falk (nee Halladay). Gretchen is survived by her brother John Carl Falk (Barbara), her sons Stephen (Naomi) and Scott (Jean) Maren, four grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her loving husband, Peter Alan Maren.
Gretchen was an avid reader and knowledgeable in a broad range of subjects, particularly the sciences and society. After graduating from Ypsilanti High School, she matriculated at Kalamazoo College (1955-57) and completed her bachelor's degree in biology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1959. In 1964, she received a doctoral degree in developmental genetics under the supervision of Dr. Robert C. King at Northwestern University (where she met her future husband, Peter). After graduate school, she accepted a teaching position at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, but soon returned to the Chicago area to marry her lifelong love, Peter, and start a family.
Gretchen was a worldly woman with deep interests in the arts and culture. She was an accomplished classical pianist and actively supported the fine arts, particularly the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Art Institute of Chicago. She was an avid world traveler and was particularly fond of her many visits to Germany with Peter. She loved nature and the outdoors, especially annual fishing trips to the Wisconsin Northwoods with her husband and sons. Gretchen was also a formidable tennis player, a passion she shared with both of her boys. She will be sorely missed. In lieu of cards, flowers, or gifts please consider a contribution to the Parkinson's Foundation (https://www.parkinson.org/ways-to-give
A Memorial Service will be held Sunday, August 1, at the Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53 Lisle, IL 60532. Family and friends will gather in the Sycamore Room, from 12-3PM.
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Published by Chicago Tribune on Jun. 6, 2021.