History Fort Lauderdale, proud steward of our community’s past by making our heritage accessible and engaging to residents and visitors, will host a celebration of life for Gretchen Gettemy Thompson, a former Fort Lauderdale historian, on Thursday, May 23, at 4 p.m. at the New River Inn (231 SW Second Avenue). Thompson passed away on April 15, 2019.
Gretchen Gettemy Thompson was born in 1940 in Tarentum, Pennsylvania. The 57-year Fort Lauderdale resident began her journalistic career as a cub reporter for the Fort Lauderdale Daily News (now known as the South Florida Sun-Sentinel) in the early 1960s. Through her thoughtful coverage of School Board and the Broward political scene, she was led to her true calling as an activist who raised millions in funds to help women and the less fortunate. She also served as a political campaign manager, notably for Virginia Young, presently the only woman mayor of Fort Lauderdale. Thompson championed local history causes and was a tireless advocate for women’s rights issues. She was a life-long supporter of Women in Distress and was co-founder of the Giraffe Awards – awarded to women who “stick their necks out.”
Thompson was passionate about preserving history in all its forms, from books to buildings, and was a lifelong learner who loved to read, write, and continuously challenged herself to grow. For the past five years, Thompson had been an author-in-residence at History Fort Lauderdale. Her latest contribution was the script for the recently launched Florida Stories Walking Tour, the first Broward County walking tour app featuring archival photos, renderings and cultural narratives that allow residents and visitors to learn about the colorful history of Fort Lauderdale at their own pace. Prior to her passing, she was working on a virtual reality museum tour which is still in development.
Those who wish to celebrate and honor Gretchen Gettemy Thompson, may register here: http://bit.ly/ThompsonLifeCelebration.