Gemma Dawn Rettmann, 83, of Eugene passed away on September 16, 2020 surrounded by her family.
Gemma was born in London, England on September 17th, 1936 to William and Daphne (Barritt-Vane) Gamble. To escape the blitz of London, Gemma and her mother travelled across the North Atlantic on the SS Baltrover in the fall of 1940. Their convoy was attacked by German planes and U-boats, but their ship was fortunate and arrived in Boston in mid-November. Gemma then spent her youth in New York City and Connecticut with her mother, stepfather Benjamin Arnstein, and brothers Nelson and Simon. She graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1962.
Gemma took a teaching job in Oakridge/Westfir in 1963 and migrated to Oregon where she subsequently met her husband Dale Rettmann. They married in 1964 and had three children. They lived in Oakridge, Tiller, and Baker City before spending the last 40 plus years in Eugene.
Gemma was an eternal optimist and persevered through the challenges of type I diabetes for decades. She taught English and language arts in both elementary and middle school and spent the last part of her teaching career at Life Lutheran School in Eugene. She loved books, horses, golden retrievers, and writing poetry. She was active in both the Central Lutheran and United Lutheran churches.
Gemma is preceded in death by her parents and daughter Jennifer Nell (d. 1967). She is survived by her husband Dale, children; Connie (David) Schatz and Jon (Alison) Rettmann, grandchildren; Tyler, Luke, and Siri, Brothers; William "Bill" Gamble, Simon Arnstein and Nelson Arnstein, and Sister Cathi Gamble-Cunningham.
A private family service will be held, with public services to be arranged at a future date. Services are in care of Musgrove Family Mortuary; please visit musgroves.com to sign the online guestbook and leave your condolences for the family. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the following: American Diabetes Association https://www.diabetes.org/donate or Oregon Horse Rescue https://www.oregonhorserescue.com/donate
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