Gretchen Eileen (Pisel) Powles, 83, died Oct. 2, 2022 at Highland Park Care Center in Alliance, Nebraska, following a massive stroke.
She was born on August 4, 1939 in Alliance, Nebraska, to Edmund and Grace (Lamb) Pisel.
Gretchen has lived her entire life in the Nebraska Sandhills, growing up on her family’s ranch which was part of the original Spade Ranch. She graduated from Gordon High School in 1956 and Chadron Teacher’s College in 1957. She married Don Powles on June 3, 1962, and moved to Powles Ranch near Bingham; three children were born of this marriage.
Gretchen was a one-room school teacher before her marriage. She never stopped using her teacher training – as she raised Tena, Jana and Bryon, as a piano teacher and as a judge for a variety of speaking competitions. She was the “driver” of her children, grandchildren and countless youngsters to rodeos, livestock shows, 4-H and FFA events and sports. She shared her love for horses and cattle with everyone.
Music and the piano were a lifelong passion. Gretchen played piano in high school, sang in the school choir, and performed in theater productions. She shared her gift as a pianist playing for weddings, funerals and accompanying 4-H bands and elementary musical performances. She was a pianist for Bingham Church for decades.
In Gretchen’s kitchen, she welcomed people around a well-laid table and a hearty meal. She was known for her delicious chocolate zucchini cakes and beautifully decorated sugar cookies. She taught others how to cook and as a ranch wife, it was just part of her role on the ranch. Gretchen was an accomplished seamstress who could sew anything for anyone. In her youth, she was a sharpshooter and enjoyed making exquisite leather goods and ceramics. His additional hobbies included bowling, reading, collecting miniatures, playing dominoes with friends, and tending to his beautiful flower gardens, especially his roses.
Gretchen attended Pleasant Point Community Church and was a devoted member of Bingham Church.
She was president of the American Gelbvieh Gals from 1990 to 1996. Gretchen received the 1995 Sheridan County Alumni 4-H Award and the 2010 Beta Sigma Phi Woman of the Year Award.
She is survived by her three children Tena Raglin, Jana (JC) Jensen and Bryon (Audrey) Powles; four grandchildren Matthew (Ana) Raglin and Marissa Raglin, and Jada and Cameron Jensen; and three great-grandchildren Jayden, Amira and Eliana Raglin, as well as countless friends and family.
She was predeceased by her husband Don Powles, parents Ed and Grace Pisel, sister Dorothy and brother-in-law Joe Shaughnessy, and son-in-law Ron Raglin.
Funeral services will be held on Thursday, October 6 at 2:00 p.m. at Bingham Lutheran Church with the Reverend Jonathan Oetting officiating. Interment will be in Bingham Cemetery. Visitation will be held Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the presence of his family from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Bates-Gould funeral home.
Memorials can be made to Bingham Lutheran Church or the charity of your choice.
Online condolences can be dropped off at www.batesgould.com.