Gretchen Graham Shilling

gretchen shilling
Gretchen Graham Shilling, 1932 - 2023

With deep sadness, the family of Gretchen Graham Shilling honor her death on February 20, 2023, at the age of 90, while in her cherished home where she raised her family and lived for more than six decades. We will miss her love, wit, humor, wisdom, and her wise sarcasm.

Gretchen Lou Graham was born August 31, 1932, in Long Beach, CA, to Lt. Cdr. Donald Stuart Graham and Dorothy Hannah Zimmerman Graham. A military family, Gretchen and her parents moved to Takoma, WA, where her brother, Roger William Graham, was born in 1935.

They settled in Gales Ferry, a small village where Gretchen met her future husband and love Charles Utley Shilling. They attended Norwich Free Academy High School together and she pursued her passion for art and enjoyed singing in the choir.

Gretchen and Charles were married on October 22, 1952, and had their first child, Donn Graham, in New London, CT. They moved to Arlington, VA, while Charles was in medical school. Dorothy Graham, Charles Roger, and David Strong, were born in Bethesda Naval Hospital while Charles was in medical residency. The family then transferred to the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, FL, where Charles served as a Naval Medical Officer.

Gretchen always said that she moved too much as a child and wanted to raise her children in one place, so they moved back to Virginia and settled into their permanent home of 63 years in Mclean, VA, where she raised her children in a lively and loving environment. Her strong conviction for civil rights brought her to march in Martin Luther King's march on the mall, and campaign for President Johnson's civil rights campaign. Gretchen was an accomplished artist who cherished her home, her garden, and her yard. Her greatest pleasures were her children, her eleven grandchildren, and her one great-grandchild: Sean William Ragland, Amy Graham Shilling, Ross Graham Shilling, Aaron Graham Revo, Simon Shilling Revo, Gretchen Hannah Burke, Paige Willever Shilling-Littman, Elizabeth Graham Shilling, Luca Marie Shilling, Nicole Grace Shilling, Sara Graham Shilling (who died in 1991), and Bennett Christopher Littman, her great-grandson. Gretchen's brother Roger predeceased her in 2020.

Gretchen's husband Charles and her children are holding funeral services on March 2 at 2:00 p.m. at Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 1125 Savile Lane, McLean, VA, followed by a reception at her home. Directions will be provided at the funeral service.

Gretchen always supported those in need, so in lieu of flowers, please consider donating in Gretchen's honor to:

So Others Might Eat, a local charity that provides the homeless with meals and shelter, runs medical, dental and behavioral health clinics, and offers learning and financial education to jobseekers. Donate at

View current weather.

Memories Timeline


  1. Dear Boy and all of the family,
    I am one of 17 cousins on the Graham side of our family. Gretchen was the oldest of us. Her father Donald was my uncle, my mother, Marjorie Graham Kloster’s brother. Visits were few in those days, but my mother loved Gretchen and Roger, talked about them and told family stories to us that included them and their parents, Donald and Dorothy. Our Grandma Graham also kept us in touch with news as did Cousin Judy Graham Sobolik when she lived in the east near your family. Gret did come to a wonderful family reunion of cousins at Copper Mountain in Colorado. We spent much of the time laughing as we attempted to put together a family tree.
    I am so very sad for you all.
    Kay Kloster Lachter

Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle

Accessibility Tools