Cover photo for Retza Gise's Obituary
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1935 Retza 2023

Retza Gise

May 2, 1935 — February 22, 2023

Montclair, NJ

The sweetest angel, Retza Delores Gaddis Gise passed away peacefully on Wednesday, February 22, 2023.  Born May 2, 1935 in Chicago, Illinois the second of eight children of Mary Ella and Bowen J. Gaddis, Retza grew up in the Lilydale Community, where she was an excellent student graduating from Gillespie Elementary, Calumet High School and Chicago Teachers College (CTC).  While at CTC, Retza became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Beta Chapter and met the love of her life William Gise, Jr. whom she would later marry and together they would nurture seven children.

Over the course of her life, Mrs. Gise was blessed to serve as an elementary education teacher in Chicago Public Schools, travel to over 25 countries and engage in one of her favorite pastimes, watching countless hours of Jeopardy. One of her greatest joys was traveling to serve as postpartum midwife to all her grandchildren which afforded her the opportunity to live in St. Paul, MN, Philadelphia, PA, Richmond, VA and Montclair, NJ.  In each city she became everyone’s Grammy and the sweetest woman ever known.

Retza was preceded in eternal life by her husband, William Gise, Jr.; siblings, Gloria Coleman, Bowen Gaddis, and Anne Gaddis.  Retza now joins the host of ancestors where she still charges our spirits, warms our hearts, and clears our paths with wisdom and boundless love.

She leaves to celebrate her life her seven children, William, III, Garrick, Debra Jennings (Major), Dr. Kimberley Gise, Giselle Spears (Darrell), Rev. Dr. Alison Gise Johnson (Ross), and Jeanine Ware (Robert); siblings, Consuelo Brinker, James Gaddis (Marcia), Deborah Crutch and Henry Gaddis (Neyluz); grand and great grandchildren, Jennifer Virgil (Anthony), Arielle Cusumano (David), Samantha Spears, Anisa, Savon, and Jared Johnson, Mya and Madison Ware, Alexa and Isaac Virgil, and Harper Cusumano; her goddaughter, Janet Walton Dukes and many, many nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and family members that she loved deeply.

As we mourn our loss, we also celebrate her life filled with countless selfless acts and unconditional love; we will forever be grateful for the time shared; and with joy we accept that God has granted her 2023 New Year’s resolution, to have fun!

Celebrations of her life are planned for June in New Jersey and July in Chicago.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Retza Gise, please visit our flower store.


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