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Gretchen Wenner Butler, MD – Obituary

Name: Gretchen Wenner Butler, MD

Age: 36

Born: 10-19-1984

Died: 03-05-2021

St. Boniface Catholic Church, Cold Spring, Minnesota

St. Boniface Catholic Church, Cold Spring, Minnesota

Dr. Gretchen Wenner Butler, 36, of Saint Paul, Minn., 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. In lieu of flowers, Gretchen’s family invites you to make a memorial gift benefiting women’s healthcare, or society’s underserved and most vulnerable, all of which were causes for which Gretchen had tremendous passion.

Guestbook for Gretchen Wenner Butler, MD

Bridget Tierney
, Provider ED
March 16, 2021, 11:37 pm
Know that you and your family are held close in prayers and love
Thomas & Stacy Kowalkowski
, Family Friend
March 13, 2021, 11:10 pm
God Bless. All of you are in our thoughts and prayers. Our hearts go out to all of you. From our family to yours, we are thinking of you. Love, Tom and Stacy Kowalkowski
lynnell barthel
, worked for Dr. Joe and now with Dr. Chris
March 12, 2021, 11:23 pm
God Bless your Beautiful family as Gretchen has gained her wings and is now heading into her next Journey, My sincere condolences for each and every one of you, Peace and love, Lynn Barthel
Sandy Lieu, MD
, Classmate from Creighton
March 12, 2021, 9:09 am
My deepest condolences to the Wenner and Butler families during this painfully difficult time. I am still trying to process that Gretchenís unexpected passing as is everyone else who has had the pleasure of meeting her. She is sorely missed already. Rest In Peace Gretchen.
Kris Fremo
, teacher and coach
March 11, 2021, 10:47 pm
How do you begin to describe the person that Gretchen was or her impact on others? Is it possible to be speechless and full of words at the same time? I had the incredible privilege of being her teacher and her soccer and softball coach during her high school years at St. John's Preparatory School. Surely Gretchen learned a lot from me, but I can truly say that I learned just as much from her. She possessed a spirit like none other; full of life, joy, determination, tenderness and love. Gretchen was a spark wherever she went. She was, and will always be a cherished student, athlete and friend. Gretchen and her parents left an indelible impression on me all those years ago. They helped me to fall in love with my job, and set such an incredible example of what it means to be part of a community. I have so many wonderful memories of Gretchen. I wish I could share them all. My heart goes out to the entire Wenner and Butler families. I lift you up in prayer as you move through the days and months ahead. Much love, Kris
Mary and Jerry Keating
, Family friend
March 11, 2021, 10:32 pm
Dear Mary and Joe, please accept our sincere condolences upon the loss of your wonderful daughter. She was a bright star. We are so sorry. Sending our love to you and your family.
Elena Strunk, M.D.
, Classmate and Friend
March 11, 2021, 10:20 pm
My husband and I made a donation in Gretchen's name to the Women's Center for Advancement (WCA) in Omaha Nebraska. It is the go-to place for anyone in the Omaha area who is experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking. I know she would have appreciated their mission and working on their causes. Rest in peace, Gretchen.
Elena Strunk
, Classmate and Friend
March 11, 2021, 10:06 pm
I am so sorry for your loss. I am heartbroken for her family and send the Butler and Wenner families love and prayers.
Barbara Knoll
, Friend and colleague
March 11, 2021, 9:59 pm
Our deepest condolences to the Wenner and Butler family. Gretchen, we will miss you greatly! You have a very special soul. I was very fortunate to cross pass with you in this life. May God bless you and keep you in eternity!
Thomas Creighton/Elusia Andrus
, friend
March 11, 2021, 9:46 pm
Sorry to hear about your loss.
Dean Brown
, friend
March 11, 2021, 9:13 pm
Gretchen was an inspiration to me and I feel blessed to have met her. She showed me and others how to be kind and generous everyday.
Arthur Spring
, Friend
March 11, 2021, 8:20 pm
I should have proof read my last comment before I sent it I am truly sorry we lost a wonderful person, kind, funny, a wonderful sense of humor, positive attitude, caring, thoughtful, and full of life and truly amazing athlete, mother, co worker, wife, aunt, and I am truly sorry she left us to soon I didnít mean and Mike Butler, I am truly sorry and to her whole family, to her great wonderful 3 kids Hudson, Harriet, Oliver, your mom loved you and she will look down on you and look out for you and hold on to the memories you have of her and know she will be always in your heart and I just want to stare in my last comment that I canít delete it but is what I meant was that it was a horrible loss that we lost Gretchen so soon and I am saddened by her passing and I hope that you can read this one and delete the first message I wrote because I feel really bad know that I didnít proof read it before hitting submit I truly sorry but she truly was an inspiration to everyone who met her and it is such a tragic loss for all who knew her and truly knew how to cheer people up and she truly was loved by all
Arthur Spring
, Friend
March 11, 2021, 8:05 pm
I am deeply sorry to hear about Gretchenís passing I feel badly for her Husband Mike Butler their 3 kids and Gretchenís whole family this is truly a horrible person she was so kind , loving, caring, passionate and happy person and she left us to early and she had a wonderful personality, gracious and a very positive person and attitude, and she will be greatly missed Hudson, harriet, Oliver she loved you all so much and cherish her memories you have and remember she is looking down on you and will take care of you and she will always be in your heart
Mark Tran
, Classmate
March 11, 2021, 8:03 pm
Life is so fragile. I still can't believe it. I'm glad you went into radiology so that I had the chance to know you better. I'm so grateful our paths crossed. You will be missed.
Whitney Reed
, Leadership at her children's school
March 11, 2021, 7:31 pm
Gretchen's legacy will live on through her three remarkable children. Words cannot describe the change she made in the world. All my love and prayers.
Joe Stauber
, Classmate from Creighton
March 11, 2021, 6:36 pm
I remember Gretchen's laugh and smile, she was contagiously fun to be around and passionately dedicated to her family, friends, and work. Her passing has been difficult to process and to those that knew her I share my deepest sympathy. Especially, to those that she touched regularly with her light and love; I pray that this void will someday lessen. Gretchen, it was a pleasure to have crossed paths; you're legacy will live on in this world in those who have known you and I wish you love and peace
Jeff Rykken
, Former Colleague
March 11, 2021, 6:22 pm
I feel honored to have known Dr. Butler, if even for a brief period of time. Her dedication to patient care, enthusiasm for life, and remarkable smile will live on forever. We are all blessed to have a connection to her. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Dr Natasha Pyfrom
, Classmate at Creighton
March 11, 2021, 6:04 pm
Prayers lifted for the family. She was loved. We werenít besties, but I felt her light and I know that sheíd be there for me if I needed her. I know that you who were closest will miss her light the most. I know that youíre surrounded by love and support, however, please know that Iím here and Id love to help in any way possible. I will remember her as I advocate for women and the underserved. Iím grateful that I was blessed to cross her path. Love, Natasha
Chip Truwit, MD
, Former colleague
March 11, 2021, 2:47 am
I was so saddened to learn of Gretchenís passing. I was lucky enough to have helped to train her to become such an outstanding radiologist and then even more fortunate to have hired her at Hennepin. She was a delightful colleague, and she brought joy to those around her. She had an infectious enthusiasm for the work, and we were all fortunate she joined the Hennepin practice. Most fortunate, however, were the many patients who benefited from Gretchenís dedication to work for a safety net hospital. Thank you Gretchen for that dedication to excellence and to access to care for all. We will miss you.
Shari Johnston
, Her Former Residency Coordinator
March 10, 2021, 8:17 pm
To Mike and family; I met Gretchen when she started her residency and it was clear from the start she was an amazing person. She brought light into any room she entered. I know you already know this, but Gretchen was a positive force in the life of so many people. My prayers are with you.
Geno Beniek
March 10, 2021, 2:32 pm
Mary & Joe & family, My heart goes out to you as I read about the unexpected death of your daughter. Iím sure these are hard and mysterious days. Geno
Mrs. A
, Huson's Teacher
March 10, 2021, 1:41 am
To Mike and family. My heart aches for your loss. With love and sympathy. Mrs. A
Kay Lehto
, Friend/coworker
March 9, 2021, 10:29 pm
I worked with Gretchen at the MHealth CSC during her fellowship in the Breast Center. She was an absolute joy every day and much loved. I pray to God to bring peace to her beautiful family.
Mary Proell
, Worked with Dr Joe at SCSC
March 9, 2021, 8:32 pm
My sympathy for your loss of this wonderful woman in your lives. You have my sympathy, and prayers for peace during this painful time.
Laura friesell
, Ski patroller friend
March 9, 2021, 3:25 pm
Gretchen was a wonderful person who always wore a smile. I remember Ski Patrolling with her at Mt. Crescent, IA on several occasions and enjoyed our conversations. Her presence will be missed and her spirit will live on with us all. Our condolences Mike and family. From your ski patrol family in Crescent, IA.
JoAnn (Waldron) & Rich Thorson
, friend
March 9, 2021, 2:19 pm
Our deepest sympathy to your family during this time. Thinking of your family and keeping you in our prayers! Rest in peace Gretchen
Mona Foroughi
, Friend/Former Classmate
March 9, 2021, 11:51 am
I send my deepest sympathies to the Wenner and Butler families. Gretchen was an absolute light in this world. She radiated kindness to everyone she met and impacted so many lives. I have fond memories of our time at Saint John's Prep together, and working at camp in the summer as Counselors. We all looked up to Gretchen - and she was such a determined and smart person. We played on the first ever girl's soccer team together - she was an unstoppable force. Gretchen, you will be dearly missed. Your legacy will live on through your beautiful children and all those people you helped. We love you, we miss you.
Donna Gross
, Friend
March 9, 2021, 4:20 am
My sincere condolences to the Wenner and Butler familyís. Gretchen was such a joy to be around. And that smile was so contagious. She will be so very deeply missed. 🙏
Julie Theisen
March 9, 2021, 2:18 am
Thank you Gretchen for the love and passion you brought to this world. You will be so terribly missed. Thinking and praying for the Bulter and Wenner families.
Dori Welch
, Friend / former coworker
March 8, 2021, 10:50 pm
Gretchen, thank you for being. Just for being. Your being brought so much light to this world.

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