Gretta Bendik left this world way too early. On Tuesday, March 19, 14-year- old Gretta died peacefully at home in Shaftsbury, Vermont. Born in Charlotte, North Carolina (but adamant during her younger years that she was born in Yew Nork), Gretta moved here with her family in 2012.
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Gretta would tell you that her best kid memory was spending hours sliding in her pajamas into a massive mud puddle. Her family will tell you their best memories are of her being her spunky self.
Gretta enjoyed music from a very young age. She played the violin, saxophone, bass guitar and taught herself to play the ukulele. With her father’s help, Gretta wrote and recorded songs under the band name ‘GRETTA’ which will be released once production is complete. Gretta attended a number of concerts including Green Day, Fall Out Boy, twenty one pilots, Weezer and Panic! at the Disco. A number of tribute concerts took place in NYC to benefit the Jimmy Fund Clinic.
Gretta excelled as a softball pitcher and hitter and exuded confidence and fierce independence as such. In 2017, Gretta pitched her softball team to championship status with, at the time, undiagnosed but painful spinal cancer. Coach Joey (Kulkin) was a huge supporter of and friend to Gretta and never failed to note that “she faced 60 batters in the semifinals and finals and walked only 2-and none over the final 58 batters”. MAUHS honored her with an honorary Varsity Letter at the start of the 2018 school year.
Gretta was a student beyond her years. She wrote thought-provoking papers and aced math. She was always correcting others’ grammar. In 2016, she was part of a group of students banned from discussing politics in school as she was very opinionated. Gretta’s goal was to become a pediatrician.
Gretta was full of wit and sarcasm. She named her tumor ‘Donald’ and imagined him being eradicated each time she was zapped by radiation.
Gretta experienced the immense kindness of strangers and friends who reached out to help her and her family after her cancer diagnosis. From the numerous notes and texts’ to the doctors and nurses and aids, from the anonymous provider of a wheelchair-accessible van to the Jimmy Fund Clinic sending her to her first professional baseball game (Yankees at Red Sox: how badass to hear Gretta’s voice cheering for the Yankees! Oh, and inasmuch as Gretta was a Yankees fan, she truly appreciated all the generous Red Sox activities she attended.) From Israel Congregation of Manchester allowing her mother to stay home with her while volunteers performed her job and provided amazing home-cooked meals to Make-A-Wish sending Gretta and her family to Hawaii, she was able to live a little more of life in the short time she was of this earth. A big bark-out to the Police Canine Associations of Vermont, Massachusetts and New York for (surprise) visiting Gretta in our local hospital.
To say that Gretta was brave/courageous during her illness seems too trivial. At the onset she commented that it was better for her to be stricken at a young age than her mother at an old age because her mother needed to be here for her and her brother. She comforted others who found it too difficult to accept her fate. She said she wasn’t afraid to die but worried about leaving her family and friends behind.
Gretta leaves behind her mother Lisa, father John, brother Jacob, grandma Cindy Krautheim, uncle Mark and aunt Susan (Briere) Krautheim, cousin Jen (Nej) Garemore, treasured friend Kyana Frost, cats Hazel and Clem, dog Phyllis and lots of other relatives and friends who loved her.
In memory of Gretta, take a stand. Please contribute (voluntarily or monetarily) to an organization that helps people/animals/our environment. Gretta’s dream was that we all love and respect each other.
The family will have a Celebration of Gretta’s Life on Saturday, June 22 at Lake Paran in North Bennington from 6 to 9 pm.
Guestbook condolences may be made at www.maharandsonfuneralhome.net.