Gretchen Mars Howerton

Gretchen Mars Howerton


Gretchen Mars Howerton (1932-2021) At 89 Gretchen- aka Nana, aka Super G, embarked upon her next great adventure on August 31, 2021. Growing up in Philadelphia, Mississippi she developed her business acumen and fashion sense working at Mars Brothers - her parents’ clothing store. Always an adventurer, upon completion of her undergraduate studies at Millsaps College and Stephens College she moved to New York. There she earned a graduate degree in Physical Therapy from Columbia University. Gretchen met her soon to be husband - Jim Howerton (deceased 2013) while working as a physical therapist at Baptist Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. The young couple settled initially in Columbia, North Carolina and started a family. They shared a love for spending time with friends, family and dining out.

Throughout our teenage years in Newport News, Virginia we knew we had the coolest parents in the neighborhood. Mom was always a trendsetter, both in fashion and in her approach to life. As a friend remarked, she was never without a smile, always with perfect makeup and dressed to the nines - whatever the occasion.

As her daughter, I am deeply grateful for the example she set as a working woman running a solo medical practice. Before the Women’s Movement brought attention to issues of equality at work and at home, Gretchen made her way through the world by expecting and if necessary, demanding she be treated as an equal. Consequently, it never occurred to me that I should accept anything less.

As her son, I am deeply grateful for the example she set as a mother and a wife.  She taught me what to look for in a life partner, which I was blessed to find.  Equally importantly she taught me what to be as a life partner, perhaps explaining why my beautiful wife Pam has kept me these past 25 years.

She helped give us both the confidence to aspire to many goals and the support to achieve them.

Upon retirement in 2010 she relocated to Advance, North Carolina with her husband to be near her son and daughter-in-law Russell and Pamela Howerton, her grandchildren Zoe Howerton, Gwyneth Howerton, Amanda Herring, Jennifer Coppola, grandsons-in-law Marcus Herring, Roman Coppola, and her great-grandchildren Keats Herring, Pascale Coppola, Marcello Coppola, and Alessandro Coppola. During these years Nana enjoyed immersion into a large extended family.

Late in life she got to indulge her wandering spirit with globe-trotting adventures with her daughter and son-in-law Todd and Tim; whale watching in Alaska, exploring the Sea of Cortez, stepping back in time in the Galápagos Islands, rounding Cape Horn on an epic adventure from the Chilean Fjords to Staten Island, Argentina and getting up close and personal with elephants and rhinos during a once in a lifetime journey through South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana. Super G embraced these cultures and experiences with zeal. The ‘sundowners’ at the end of the day’s adventure were always some of her favorite moments. We celebrate her life with one last toast - as her friends from Botswana would say “Pula” (cheers) “Tsamaya sentle” (goodbye and go well).  She will be greatly missed by her family and friends.

A private family graveside service will be held at Four Oaks Farm on September 11, 2021.  Hayworth-Miller Funeral Homes in Advance, North Carolina are handling funeral arrangements.  In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to Davie Community Foundation, 107 N. Salisbury St. Mocksville, NC 27028.

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