Gretchen Smith Jolly: Committed to helping others, her greatest joy was family

Gretchen Jolly

On Thursday April 22, Gretchen S. Jolly, loving wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother passed away at her home in Shoreline, WA at the age of 83. She was born October 7, 1937, in Spokane, Washington, the daughter of Ford and Chata (Elsa Osborne) Smith. She spent her early years in Spokane until the family moved to Seattle where the family eventually settled on Capitol Hill. She was a 1956 graduate of Garfield High School and attended Washington State University, where she was a member of Alpha Zeta.

Gretchen married Pierre Jolly on September 19, 1959, at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle. Following the birth of their two children, Geoffrey and Tracy, she began a lifelong commitment to service and helping others. She was active in supporting Seattle Children’s Hospital through fundraisers, Junior League of Seattle at the Thrift Store, Wise Penny, and Guatemala Friendship School. Always helping her children with sports and social activities such as Camp Fire Girls, Boy Scouts, gymnastics, football, soccer and swim team.  Later in life, she became a member of P.E.O. (Philanthropic Education Organization), where she worked both locally and at the state level to support fundraising for women in education. She was an active and respected member, providing leadership within the organization at several diverse levels for close to two decades. She will be missed by her sisterhood at P.E.O.

Gretchen and Pierre moved to Crista Senior Living of Shoreline in 2017. Here they became incredibly involved in their new community at the Garden Residence of Crista. Gretchen held many positions, so many that there will be several volunteers needed to fill her shoes. She was known as the Matriarch of the Garden Residence. A few of her current rolls included Garden Resident Council President, Library Assistant, Mail Delivery to the Royal Residence, supporter to Crista staff for community events, proofreader for newsletters and calendars and an advocate to help others in need.

Gretchen was known by many as having a drive and energy to work hard and make sure any task she worked on was done well. She cared deeply for many causes throughout her life and for each of those she gave all of herself. Many have benefitted from her commitments to these causes. Her greatest joys were her family, and she was especially proud of becoming a great-grandmother in 2020, she happily shared photos and stories of her great-grandson with all.

She is survived by her husband, Pierre; sister, Kerry Thompson of Seattle, children, Geoff (LaDonna) Jolly, of Edmonds and Tracy Jolly (Mike Koski-Harja), of Seattle, two grandchildren, Justin (Payton) Jolly and Megan Jolly, and a great grandson, Hendrix Jolly. Gretchen’s wish for donations be made to Children’s Hospital in lieu of flowers.

If you wish to attend the funeral on Saturday June 12th at 1 PM, please register at or  Registration will close on June 11th @ 1PM.

  1. Gretchen leaves a big hole in our hearts. She had a unique ability to make everyone comfortable. I loved being with her at P.E.O. conventions and fund raisers.
    “May Flights of Angels Sing Thee to Thy Rest.
    May Flights of Angels Lead You On Your Way.”
    Riitta Morton

  2. Before Gretchen was the Matriarch of the Garden Residence at Crista, she was affectionately nicknamed the Mayor of Ardenwood. Gretchen was the gentle force behind making our neighborhood the friendly, inclusive place it is. She knew everyone–especially the children–and went out of her way to make new neighbors feel welcome and current ones feel included. We have missed her and Pierre since they moved to Crista, but we are trying to carry on their legacy. You remain in our hearts in Ardenwood.

  3. Gretchen was a wonderful mentor to me. She always went after a project with incredible passion.
    Always so proud of her family, she exhibited inexhaustible love and understanding. As a P. E. O sister
    her generosity knew no bounds. You will be sorely missed.

  4. I will miss Gretchen so much. We had frequent long phone chats. She was a delight and never met a stranger…always a friend to be! She rarely said no when asked to be involved (or to be in charge) in the many arenas of her life. I am blessed to have had her a part of my life.

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