Marian Kretsch, 97, of Southbury, formerly of Newtown, died March 1. Born in Vienna, Austria, to Grete and William Unger, she enjoyed the cultural life of Vienna as a young girl, attending operas, concerts, skiing on school trips, and vacationing in her most favorite place, the village of Altaussee.
In 1938, she and her family were forced to leave Austria because of the Nazi Anschluss, spending two years in England before being granted visas to enter the United States in 1940. She received a scholarship to the University of Chicago and while studying there met her future husband Hans Kretsch, a physicist engineer also from Vienna. They were married in 1942 and moved to Connecticut, first living in Westport and later to Bridgeport where Hans worked as an engineer.
In 1955, they moved to Newtown where they resided in the Taunton District for 33 years. Mrs Kretsch was an avid gardener, fantastic cook, reader, and baker. In Newtown, in addition to being a loving mother and wife, she was an active member of the League of Women Voters, The Newtown Garden Club, and the American Field Service. One of her proudest accomplishments was being co-founder of the Newtown Friends of Music, which brought classical music concerts to Newtown for almost 40 years.
With her love of hiking, skiing, and enjoying the outdoors, she helped to bestow those gifts to her family on the many wonderful vacations taken in the lakes, mountains, and seashore of New England.
In 1989, she moved to Heritage Village with her husband, who passed away in 1992. Her thirst for travel never ended, and she made many wonderful trips with The Smithsonian, Elder Hostel, and Road Scholar, many of which included visits to her grandchildren. Even through her nineties she continued to visit New York on the Village bus, enjoying the museums, galleries, and concerts in the city. One of her most memorable trips was the one she took to Vienna called Commemoration of the Holocaust 70 Years after the Anschluss. There she visited her old school and classmates and was so happy to be returning to the joys of her youth.
Her loved ones say she will perhaps be best remembered for her stylish European flair, her ambitious zest for life, and her spirit of staying connected to an ever-changing world.
In addition to her sister, Lilli Kautsky, of St Louis, Mo.; her sons, Martin and his wife Judy Di Leo of Newton, Mass., and Tom and his wife Sandi of Westport; her four granddaughters, Anna Antell and her husband Zev of Richmond,Va., Abigail Bardin and her husband Alex of Brookline, Mass., Elissa Kretsch and her husband Matt Jones of El Portal, Calif., and Natalie Kretsch of Coral Gables, Fla, survive her. She is also survived by five cherished great-grandchildren, the youngest of which was born two days before Mrs Kretsch’s death.
Mrs Kretsch was supportive of many charities both near and far. Some that were close to her heart in the area were Danbury Hospital, Anne’s Place, and Sandwiches for Soup Kitchen in Waterbury.
Memorial donations may be made to Ann’s Place, 80 Saw Mill Road, Danbury CT 06810, or annsplace.org.
A celebration of her life will be held at a later date.
Munson-Lovetere Funeral Home are handling the private arrangements.