Gretchen Ann Fosket, age 87, slipped away quietly and peacefully Thursday, November 1, 2018.

She was born March 3, 1931 in Jefferson, Iowa. She was the daughter of Samuel and Elsie (Robson) Fosket. Gretchen is survived by her children, Jennifer (Gary) Parker, Rod (Kiera) Ladman, Cynthia (Jerry) Brookshire, Donald (Lex) Johnson, Ann (John) Agans, and Keith Johnson, 13 grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren, and other extended family. She was preceded in death by her parents, Samuel and Elsie Fosket, sisters, Margaret and Phyllis, and her brother, Lewis.

Gretchen touched many people’s lives in memorable ways. She was most known for her spirit which was displayed through her love for writing, music, bargain shopping, artistic adventures, tasteful manner of dress and her gift of gab and social connections.

Gretchen began writing poetry as a young child and had a goal of writing a poem a day in her later years. She created bound booklets of her poems for church members, family, friends and anyone who expressed an interest. She used email to share her written creations with everyone who shared her interest. Several of her poems have been published in the Des Moines Register and most recently she was awarded 2nd place for Humorous Verse in the Iowa Poetry Association, Lyrical Iowa Competition. Right up until her last days, she was an active participant in Second Saturday Poets, the Alpha Chapter Poetry Society, and the Iowa Poetry Association. She continued to hone her skills by attending writing workshops and the reading and critiquing of poetry.

Gretchen, daughter of a piano teacher, loved music. She frequently spent time playing her keyboard and would play for church services at Marquesville Methodist Church. She loved using her Amazon Alexa to search for musicians and artists, oldies but goodies. She frequented plays, musicals, and concerts. All of her children were encouraged to pursue their inherited musical abilities.

Gretchen loved to shop, specifically shopping that supported projects and programs of non-profit agencies. She was always on a quest, be-it stuffed animals, Raggedy Ann and Andy, hats, purses, yarn to make baby blankets or most recently anything with polka dots. Her most often heard statement was, “It only cost a quarter.”

Gretchen was an artist and expressed her creativity in many ways. At one time, the walls of her home were artistically painted with geometric designs and vines. She made clothing for herself and her children and was skilled at adding touches that turned a plain gown into something elegant. She herself looked like she stepped out of a magazine with a perfectly color coordinated ensemble complete with a stunning hat.

People who know Gretchen well, knew her about her decades long fetish for hats. She didn’t just collect and wear hats. She wrote and performed monologues using her hats as the primary props. She performed for children, groups, aging adults, and any place that would bring smiles to people’s faces. One of the families’ fondest memories was a family gathering of all six of her children, their spouses, and their children. Everyone wore one of her hats and made music on Gretchen’s handsomely decorated homemade kazoos.

Gretchen would talk to anyone and she changed people’s lives in a positive way. When she rode the bus to work, she didn’t just talk to people about the weather, she encouraged conversations about family, culture, and beliefs. She broke down racial barriers between white and black. Her conversations with people lead to her involvement in an ethnic diverse Book Lover’s Club and poetry groups.

Gretchen was always an organizer, leader, or a faithful follower in her neighborhood, church, and community. Den mother, Camp Fire Girls leader, Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship, Bible studies, prayer chains, poetry groups are a few of the many ways she was involved throughout her life.

Needless to say, Gretchen had many friends. She left a big footprint.

The family had a small, private memorial and will be holding a celebration of the life of Gretchen Fosket in the near future. Visit for updated details.

Please join the family for an afternoon of sharing at the:
Going Home Celebration for Gretchen Fosket
Short service followed by a reception.
Sunday, December 9th, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00.p.m.
Marquisville and Amor y Paz United Methodist Church
5345 NE 14th St, Des Moines

Gretchen loved hats. Guests are invited to wear their favorite hat. Can’t you just see her smiling and marveling at your hat?

Please, no flowers, as the church will be abundantly decorated with poinsettias. Any guests wishing to make contributions on Gretchen’s behalf are encouraged to contribute to any cause they feel worthwhile. Gretchen was supportive of any cause that would make life a better for people.

Gretchen wrote "she hoped she would be remembered for her poetry, into which she sometimes seemed to pour all her love, and sometimes a remarkable wisdom which she felt came through her, not from her."

Rite to Life

I’m still here.
I don’t need to know how long.
So long as my heart can sing,
I will prolong my song
In celebration of all that live,
grateful to all who give.
Don’t be sad for me
when I choose to move on.
For today,
I delight in the music
of my heart.
By Gretchen Ann Fosket

Service Details

Sunday, December 9, 2018
2:00 pm
Going Home Celebration for Gretchen Fosket
Short service followed by a reception.
Sunday, December 9th, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00.p.m.
Marquisville and Amor y Paz United Methodist Church
5345 NE 14th St, Des Moines
Hamilton's Crematory
Des Moines
Hamilton's Funeral Home
605 Lyon Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
(515) 243-5221

Order Flowers
Order Flowers