Cheney Free Press -



Gretha Lawrence treats everyone 'like family'


Jim Duncan/Unitime Imports

Gretha Lawrence poses with the sailfish her father Neal sent to her.

Not all people are blessed with a heart to help others. Gretha Lawrence is. Whatever work she applies herself to it will benefit someone. Gretha said, "I was born in Walla Walla. My mom bought property at Green Bluff. We had a little farm. Every other year I went back to Walla Walla to visit my grandparents. I grew up with them." In college Gretha learned a lot about culinary arts. She said, "I was busy making jewelry."

Gretha soon reached a higher mark. She said, "I was trained by the Red Cross and the Air Force so I could work with them. I could do surgical tech and lab tech and assisted them. I loved my job. I have always treated patients like family."

Aside from her job assisting Dr. Andrew Martinssen at Cheney Dental Care, Gretha helps her 88-year-old dad twice a week. She tells me, "There were six of us kids growing up together. We got along by 'negotiating.' I had two dads, Joe, my step-dad and my biological dad, Neal. Last September he brought me a sailfish. It was 15 feet long. I hung it on the wall. Both my dads have been doting fathers and I also have Shirley, my wonderful mom. I am proud of Christian, my daughter. She is finishing college, specializing in physical therapy."

When Gretha was 8 years old her family lived across the street from the local rodeo grounds. She said, "I rode my little pony and guided my Shetland horse across the street and opened the gate. The audience was expecting me and watched as we did tricks." It didn't matter that Gretha's name wasn't on the agenda. She was their little local girl and that was enough for them.

Gretha has several friends she meets every Friday evening. Gretha says, "They're my sisters. We enjoy wine tasting at the Spokane Club. I have been in a film on PBS with my friend Mary. Her mother had died and she wanted to honor her for her hard work. In the story we were at a holiday turkey dinner with champagne."

Gretha and all her friends spent time traveling to California. She said, "We let all the husbands come if they wanted to. We stayed one week in Napa. We explored some wonderful museums, the Golden Gate Bridge and China Town. We had fun wine tasting too. There are probably hundreds of wineries in Napa. We visited 10."

Gretha easily finds ways to be helpful as she speaks her motto while the days go by, "I treat them like family." America could use many more who "treat people like family." Thanks, Gretha.

Luella Dow is a Cheney-area author. She can be reached at


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