April 10, 1970 to Dec. 15, 2021
Gretchen A. (VanDen-Vouver) Gaudreau, 51, of Dunkirk, N.Y., was welcomed home by God on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021, due to unforeseen complications from surgery.
She was born in Dunkirk on April 10, 1970, and was a 1988 graduate of Dunkirk High School and a cosmetology graduate from Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES.
Gretchen was an outstanding athlete, active in gymnastics, and was the first girl to play Dunkirk Little League Baseball for Glenn-Jankowski, where she was third baseman and always wore her hat super high. You would always find her on the softball field and basketball court, where she excelled. She continued her athletic abilities at Erie Community College North, where she studied sports medicine.
Gretchen, and her larger-than-life personality, moved to Las Vegas, Nev., where she lived for 24 years. She shared her love for animals as an emergency medical technician at Pebble Maryland Animal Hospital, and she studied spirituality at the International Metaphysical Ministry. In addition, Gretchen traveled abroad to Italy where she served as a nanny, housekeeper, and bodyguard at Castle Val di Colle.
Gretchen returned to her hometown in 2016, where she immediately reconnected with family, friends, and classmates. She loved her family and friends and managed to put a smile on the face of everyone she encountered. She had a heart of gold, an infectious smile, and her presence was larger than life.
As a certified nursing assistant, formerly employed by Chautauqua Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Gretchen took great care and showed much love for residents. At the height of the pandemic, when family members were frustrated with being unable to see their loved ones, she went out of her way to help families communicate with their loved ones by assisting them in making phone calls and sharing pictures that she took of them. Gretchen went above and beyond the call of her shift duties in providing extra special care to her residents. Her efforts brought families some peace and comfort during such challenging and frustrating times.
Gretchen was one of a kind and loved by so many. She was full of so much spirit and energy and would light up an entire room when she walked in.
She was preceded in death by her father, Edmund P. VanDenVouver, on Aug. 12, 2020.
Survivors include her loving mother, Virginia “Ginny” (Washburn) Van-DenVouver; her sister, Kristine (Gabriel) Burgos of Brooklyn, N.Y.; brother, Paul (Amy O’Connell) VanDenVouver of Dunkirk, N.Y.; plus her two loving nephews: Alix and Marc Burgos of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and her four-legged best friend and companion, Gunner, the Great Dane.
Following the guidelines and protocols administered by the governor of New York, calling hours will be held at McGraw-Kowal Funeral Home on Sunday, Dec. 19, from 4-8 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday, Dec. 20, at 11 a.m. at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to the Lake Shore Humane Society.