In Memory of




Obituary for Gretchen Whittet (Bittner)

Gretchen Whittet, 91, peacefully passed away on March 29, 2023, surrounded by her loving family. Gretchen was preceded in death by her husband of 61 years, James L. Whittet, who adored her, and her grandson Walker Lanterman. Mother of Kathi (Ralph) Eaton, Chris Whittet, Peter Whittet, Lisa Whittet, James Whittet III, Tracie Lanterman, Jon (Rose) Whittet; proud grandmother of Nathan Eaton, Bryan (Dana) Eaton, Brad Whittet, Shelly Whittet, Laura Whittet, Shawny Rock, Jay Whittet, Brittney Whittet-Jones, Megan McGoohan, Caitlin McGoohan, Julia (Fellipe) Ticianeli, Maxwell Whittet, Marco Whittet; and adoring great-grandmother of Carter Kaina and Sutton Jones. Loving sister of Susan (Dennis) Schmirler. Gretchen was born to Helen and Cornelius Bittner and grew up in Wauwatosa and Elm Grove. She attended Wayland Academy and graduated from Northwestern University. Her summers were spent at Lake Beulah in East Troy, where she was the treasurer of Lake Beulah Yacht Club and one of the contested first female C scow skippers. In her later years she loved to express how she beat this person and that person sailing. She was able to share her love for the lake with her family until 1975. The lake was a treasured place for her and her family. Gretchen was a teacher until she met “Smilin’ Jim” and they married in 1957 and had 7 children. While raising her children, Gretchen worked with her dear friend, Laura Davis, at Chattel Changers. Gretchen was an avid antique collector and shopper. Upon Jim’s retirement they shared time in Milwaukee and Naples, Florida where she worked at the Spanbauer Art Gallery. Some of Gretchen’s qualities were her grace, beauty, and gentle spirit, never saying an ill word about anyone. Her gracious spirit touched those she met, and she enjoyed many friends. Always impeccably dressed and coifed, Gretchen had a keen sense of style in fashion, decor and art. She also had an adventurous spirit and always said “yes” to invitations. She played tennis and piano and loved to sing and dance! Her kind, gentle and pure spirit shined through in everything, and she will be deeply missed. A memorial service will be held at Fox Point Lutheran Church on May 26, 2023. Visitation at 3:00, services at 4 pm. We are grateful for the care and love from Dr. Scott Jorgensen and his staff, and the staff and friends at Harbor Chase. In lieu of flowers please make donations to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, 322 8th Ave., 7th floor, New York, NY 10001.