Gretchen Quie

Last updated

Gretchen Quie
First Lady of Minnesota
In role
January 4, 1979 January 3, 1983
Governor Al Quie
Preceded byLola Perpich
Succeeded byLola Perpich
Personal details
Gretchen Marie Hansen

August 4, 1927
Waverly, Iowa
DiedDecember 13, 2015(2015-12-13) (aged 88)
Minnetonka, Minnesota
Spouse(s) Al Quie (1948–2015; her death)
Alma mater St. Olaf College

Gretchen Marie Quie (August 4, 1927 – December 13, 2015) was an American artist, painter, potter, writer, and advocate for the arts. Quie served as the First Lady of Minnesota from 1979 until 1983 during the administration of her husband, Governor Al Quie. As First Lady, Quie established the State Ceremonial Building Council to oversee the restoration of the Minnesota Governor's Residence. [1] She also opened the Governor's Mansion to the general public through programs including, "Night at the Mansion," which chose Minnesotans through a lottery to spend the night at the residence. [1] Al and Gretchen Quie invited a family of Vietnamese refugees to live at the Governor's Residence's renovated carriage house to encourage Minnesotans to sponsor more refugees. [1] [2]

Pottery Craft of making objects from clay

Pottery is the process of forming vessels and other objects with clay and other ceramic materials, which are fired at high temperatures to give them a hard, durable form. Major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made by a potter is also called a pottery. The definition of pottery used by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), is "all fired ceramic wares that contain clay when formed, except technical, structural, and refractory products." In archaeology, especially of ancient and prehistoric periods, "pottery" often means vessels only, and figures etc. of the same material are called "terracottas". Clay as a part of the materials used is required by some definitions of pottery, but this is dubious.

Governor of Minnesota head of state and of government of the U.S. state of Minnesota

The Governor of Minnesota is the chief executive of the U.S. state of Minnesota, leading the state's executive branch. Forty people have been governor of Minnesota, though historically there were also three governors of Minnesota Territory. Alexander Ramsey, the first territorial governor, also served as state governor several years later. State governors are elected to office by popular vote, but territorial governors were appointed to the office by the United States president. The current governor of Minnesota is Tim Walz of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL).

Al Quie American politician

Albert Harold "Al" Quie is an American politician who served as the 35th governor of Minnesota from January 4, 1979, to January 3, 1983.


Her official manuscripts are housed in the collection of the Minnesota Historical Society. [3]

The Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) is a nonprofit educational and cultural institution dedicated to preserving the history of the U.S. state of Minnesota. It was founded by the territorial legislature in 1849, almost a decade before statehood. The Society is named in the Minnesota Constitution. It is headquartered in the Minnesota History Center in downtown St. Paul.


Quie was born Gretchen Marie Hansen to Ella and Sam Hansen on August 4, 1927, in Waverly, Iowa. [1] Her father, Sam Hansen, was a school administrator who relocated the family to Minnesota. The Hansons moved to Harmony, Minnesota, and Benson, Minnesota. [1] They finally relocated to Minneapolis, the state's largest city, where her father opened a business specializing in teacher placement. [1]

Waverly, Iowa City in Iowa, United States

Waverly is a city in Bremer County, Iowa, United States. The population was 9,874 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Bremer County and is part of the Waterloo–Cedar Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Harmony, Minnesota City in Minnesota, United States

Harmony is a city in Fillmore County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 1,020 at the 2010 census. The town bills itself as the "Biggest Little Town in Southern Minnesota" and features the largest Amish community in the state.

Benson, Minnesota City in Minnesota, United States

Benson is a city in Swift County, Minnesota, United States, which is located along the Chippewa River. The population was 3,240 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat.

Gretchen Hansen graduated from the now defunct Central High School in Minneapolis in 1945. [1] She then majored in art at St. Olaf College and also spent a summer tern at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. She met her husband, Al Quie, a retired United States Navy pilot while at St. Olaf. [1] The couple married in June 1948 and Gretchen Quie left St. Olaf one year before her planned graduation. [1] [3] The Quies relocated to his family farm in Rice County, Minnesota. [1] Quie, now the wife of a farmer, became active in local organizations, including the Grace Lutheran Church in Nerstrand and the Dennison Study Club. [1] Gretchen continued painting often interpreting familiar scenes around the farm and the Rice County area. Al Quie was elected to the Minnesota State Senate while working the farm. They had four children in Rice County prior to Quie's election to the United States House of Representatives in 1958. Their fifth child, Ben, was born in Silver Spring, Maryland, while Quie was a member of Congress. [1]

St. Olaf College Private liberal arts college

St. Olaf College is a private liberal arts college in Northfield, Minnesota. It was founded in 1874 by Bernt Julius Muus and a group of Norwegian-American immigrant pastors and farmers, led by Pastor Bernt Julius Muus. The college is named after the King and the Patron Saint Olaf II of Norway and is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

United States Navy Naval warfare branch of US Armed Forces

The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. It has the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 336,978 personnel on active duty and 101,583 in the Ready Reserve, the U.S. Navy is the third largest of the U.S. military service branches in terms of personnel. It has 290 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of June 2019, making it the third-largest air force in the world, after the United States Air Force and the United States Army.

Rice County, Minnesota County in the United States

Rice County is a county in the U.S. state of Minnesota. As of the 2010 census, the population was 64,142. Its county seat is Faribault.

Quie designed much of the artwork installed in Saint Stephen Lutheran Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, including the church's stained glass windows, mosaics, and tapestries. [1] [4] She also established a women's art guild at the church and served as the President of the Montgomery County Potters from 1976 to 1977. [2]

Mosaic image made from an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials

A mosaic is a piece of art or image made from the assembling of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It is often used in decorative art or as interior decoration. Most mosaics are made of small, flat, roughly square, pieces of stone or glass of different colors, known as tesserae. Some, especially floor mosaics, are made of small rounded pieces of stone, and called "pebble mosaics".

She resumed her art studies at the University of Maryland. The credits were transferred to St. Olaf College, allowing her to complete her bachelor's degree in art in 1971. [1] [3]

First Lady of Minnesota

Al Quie was elected Governor of Minnesota in 1978. [1] The Governor, First Lady and their youngest son, Ben, moved into the Minnesota Governor's Residence in 1979. Gretchen Quie found the residence in need of repairs and renovations, which were ongoing at the time. [1] She created the State Ceremonial Building Council to oversee improvements and renovations to the mansion. [1] In 1980, the Minnesota Legislature authorized Quie's State Ceremonial Building Council to create an official "architectural master plan" of the mansion to guide its restoration efforts. [1] Quie also founded the 1006 Summit Avenue Society, a volunteer organization created to oversee the ongoing maintenance and remodeling of the Governor's mansion. In 1981, Quie authored "The Governor's Table," a cookbook containing anecdotes and recipes liked by past Governors of Minnesota, which was published by the 1006 Summit Avenue Society. [1] She also released her autobiography, "In the Potter's Hand," in 1981. [3]

Gretchen Quie is credited with opening the Governor's Mansion to the general public. [1] The Governor and First Lady invited a family of Vietnamese refugees to live in their renovated carriage house on the grounds of the mansion to encourage Minnesotans to sponsor more refugees. [1] Gretchen Quie also created "Night at the Mansion." The program selected Minnesota residents through a lottery to have dinner with the Quies and sleep in the Governor's Residence's guest bedroom. [1] [2]

Career and later life

Al Quie decided not to seek re-election in 1982. Al and Gretchen Quie moved to Minnetonka, Minnesota, in 1983, where she continued to pursue her artistic career. [2] Gretchen Quie and her business partner established Celebration Design, a design firm which was located on St. Paul's Grand Avenue in Minnetonka which focused on religious artwork. [1] She served on the boards of numerous organizations, including the American Refugee Council, Art Education of Minnesota, Committee on Immunization Practices, the Girl Scout Council, KIDS Inc., the Nutrition Education and Advisory Council, the Salvation Army Council, the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts, and the World Population Balance. [1]

Quie was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2005, necessitating her retirement from art. Her husband became her primary caregiver. [1]

Gretchen Quie died from Parkinson's disease at her home in Minnetonka, Minnesota, on December 13, 2015, at the age of 88. [1] She was survived by her husband, former Governor Al Quie; their five children – Fred, Jennie Coffin, Dan, Joel, and Ben; her brother, John Hansen; fourteen grandchildren, and thirteen great-grandchildren. [2] Her funeral was held at Christ Presbyterian Church in Edina, Minnesota. [1]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 Salisbury, Bill (December 14, 2015). "Gretchen Quie, opened governor's house to public, dies at 88". St. Paul Pioneer Press . Archived from the original on January 2, 2016. Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Marcotty, Josephine (December 16, 2015). "Obituary: Gretchen Quie was a governor's wife, an artist and a loving mom". Star Tribune . Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "Gretchen Quie: An Inventory of Her Papers at the Minnesota Historical Society". Minnesota Historical Society . Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  4. "About Us: Expressing our Faith Through Art". Saint Stephen Lutheran Church. 2005. Retrieved January 3, 2016.
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Lola Perpich
First Lady of Minnesota
Succeeded by
Lola Perpich