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In Memoriam ~ Gretchen Wenner Butler ’03

Gretchen Wenner Butler, MD ’03

Daughter of Joseph Wenner ’63,

Sister of Christopher ’90, Michelle ’92, and Rachel ’95

Dr. Gretchen Wenner Butler, 36, of Saint Paul, MN, was a bright star who burned out too soon. She unexpectedly died by suicide on March 5, 2021.

Gretchen Wenner was born on October 19, 1984, in St. Paul, Minnesota, the youngest of four children of Joseph and Mary (Legatt) Wenner. From an early age, Gretchen had an adventurous spirit. This spirit, combined with her boundless energy and many gifts, left those who met her with an unforgettable impression. She graduated from Saint John’s Preparatory School and the University of San Diego, where she excelled at both academics and athletics.

Her zest for life and positive energy made for many shared adventures with her family and friends. One adventure on the ski slopes of Colorado led to Gretchen meeting her match in Michael Butler. They married on June 18, 2011 at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Cold Spring.

Gretchen earned her Doctor of Medicine from Creighton University’s School of Medicine in 2013 and completed her residency and fellowship in Radiology at the University of Minnesota. She was a member of Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society and earned honors as Chief Resident, Teaching Resident of the Year and Radiology Resident of the Year.

Gretchen was employed at Hennepin Healthcare, where she loved her work and her patients. Gretchen’s work at Hennepin County Medical Center was particularly meaningful to her as it aligned with causes for which Gretchen advocated: Women’s health, accessibility to healthcare for all and meaningful relationships between physicians and patients.

Her strong work ethic, openness to other perspectives and eye for detail made Gretchen an excellent radiologist and an entertainer extraordinaire. The only thing better than having Gretchen attend your party was having her plan it! She made everything she did more beautiful and more fun with her infectious laugh and kind heart.

Gretchen was a doting daughter, a loving wife, a skilled physician, an elegant hostess and a generous friend. While she had many accomplishments and excelled at all of these roles, nothing made her more proud or brought her more joy than her three children. The void left in the lives of those who loved her is beyond words.

Gretchen is survived by her husband, Mike, and their children, Hudson, Harriet and Oliver; her parents, Dr. Joseph and Mary Wenner, and her siblings, Dr. Christopher (Jennifer) Wenner and Dr. Rachel (Ted) Ruzanic, all of Cold Spring, and Dr. Michelle (Paul) Chestovich of St. Paul; her in-laws, Bob and Marian Butler of Westford, Mass.; a brother-in-law, Rob Butler of Philadelphia; 11 loving nieces and nephews; and many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

Visitation will be on Thursday, March 11, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Cold Spring. COVID-19 precautions will be followed and masks are required. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 3:00 pm and be viewable through a live-stream accessible at the Daniel Funeral Home website. Private burial will follow at Saint John’s.