CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Gretchen Ann Hoffman Robb, 75, returned to her heavenly father on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, at Hospice House. She fought a valiant, 10-year battle with cancer.
Gretchen was born Jan. 25, 1937, in Warren, the daughter of Harold W. and Leola C. Hoffman.
She was voted the 1955 homecoming queen at Howland High School in Warren and attended The Ohio State University.
A resident of Batesville since 1971, Gretchen selflessly devoted her life to her family and made sure she was home every day when her children returned from school.
She nurtured all living creatures, taking in countless stray dogs, cats, the occasional squirrel and other wounded wildlife. She was unpretentious, down to earth and made friends from every walk of life. She was an avid gardener, painter and equestrian.
Gretchen spent her life with horses from an early age. Though she never had a formal riding lesson, she excelled on horseback. In her 50s, she took up polo and was soon able to play against both women and men. She led the third flight for Oak Ridge Fox Hunt Club for many years and served on the board of directors of Hope's Legacy Equine Rescue.
Gretchen enjoyed all aspects of riding, from a thrilling winter chase to a quiet summer trail ride. Her church was the great outdoors, and the spirit of God lived within her.
She is survived by her husband of 54 years, Edgar S. "Ed" Robb of Batesville, Va.; her sons, Mark H. (Mary Beth) Robb of Stuarts Draft, Va.; Edward M. "Matt" (Cathy) Robb of Afton, Va.; her daughter, Amy C. (Matt) Robb Wade of Afton, Va.; and six grandchildren, Andrew "Drew,'' Caitlin, Bonnie, Zack, Emma and Rachel.
Gretchen's greatest strength was her loyalty to her family, who surrounded her continuously throughout her final weeks. The family wishes to express its deep gratitude to the staff at Martha Jefferson Hospital, Dr. Zachary Bush, the staff of Hospice House and Hospice of the Piedmont and the Rev. Peter T. Way and his wife, Elizabeth, for their loving care and support.
A memorial gathering is planned for a later date. Contributions in Gretchen's name can be made to Hospice of the Piedmont, 675 Peter Jefferson Parkway, Suite 300, Charlottesville, VA 22911; or to Hope's Legacy Equine Rescue at www.hopeslegacy.com.