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A. "Gretel" Margaret Mientka
October 4, 1931 ~ February 6, 2024 (age 92) 92 Years Old
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On February 6, 2024, A. “Gretel” Margaret Mientka, 92, of Lincoln, NE., passed away peacefully; devoted wife of the late Walter E. Mientka; cherished mother of Andre W. Mientka and his wife Margaret, Bennet “Ben” Mientka and his wife Sandy, Rebecca “Becky” Whitaker and her husband Brent, and the late Timothy “Tim” Mientka; beloved Gramma Gretel to Christopher Mientka, Sarah Mientka, Gabriel Mientka, Stephanie Mientka, Rosemarie Mientka, Marinda Whitaker, Brianna Gorretta, T. Duncan Whitaker, Chloe Mientka, and Ethan Mientka; most loved great Gramma Gretel to Alexandru, Daniel, Walter, and Mia; with many loving nieces and nephews; and many loving family and friends.
Gretel grew up in Boulder, Colorado, spending most of her time camping, hiking, and skiing in the Rocky Mountains outside her back door. She loved horses with a deep passion and her parents made it clear that she would have to earn all of the money required to buy a horse and provide it with food and supplies. Those requirements didn’t deter her from accomplishing her goal. She built a fence, bought a horse, and spent many hours riding “T.N.T. Tornado'' all around the foothills; she even competed in a few shows. Later, while raising four children, she raised appaloosa horses and a couple of Shetland ponies on her Nebraska acreage. Gretel’s second great interest was Baroque music. She played both piano and cello, spent many years teaching piano lessons, and instilled a love of classical music in her children and grandchildren, inspiring several of them to pursue music professionally.
Gretel was married to Walter Mientka (deceased 2014) for nearly 60 years. They raised their family in Lincoln, Nebraska where Walter was a beloved mathematics professor at the University of Nebraska. For over 50 years, they attended almost every Cornhusker football game and red soon became one of Gretel’s favorite colors.
Gretel was first and foremost a loving and nurturing stay at home mom. She enjoyed gardening, especially growing, evaluating, and rating roses for the American Rose Society. Holidays were filled with the aroma of her prized German Christmas cookies crafted from recipes passed down by her German ancestors. Singing Christmas carols with her children on Christmas eve was her favorite tradition. Gretel enjoyed many years of month-long camping trips all over the country with Walter and their children, Andy, Tim, Becky, and Ben. When asked how she wanted to celebrate her 50th wedding anniversary, she said, “I want to go camping” with my kids and grandkids.
Gretel was devastated by both the loss of her son, Tim, in 2012, and her husband, Walter in 2014. Her children and grandchildren, and her sweet puppy, Puffin, helped provide support and care over the years. Gretel spent her last few years living in Maryland, but she greatly missed her Nebraska home, sweet neighbors, and lovely friends. To honor Gretel's wishes, there will not be a public memorial service. A private family gathering will be held at a later date. Please feel free to celebrate Gretel’s memory in your own way. She will be with us all in spirit. Thank you for your understanding during this difficult time.