Gretchen S. Vare, 60, admissions director

Gretchen S. Vare
Gretchen S. Vare
Posted: August 28, 2014

Gretchen S. Vare, 60, of Wayne, whose love of children led her to become admissions director at a Quaker school in Delaware County, died Monday, Aug. 18, of cancer at Lankenau Hospital.

Starting in 1996, Mrs. Vare went to work at Stratford Friends School in Newtown Square. She held the titles of director of public relations and communications, board member, and finally, director of admissions. She never retired.

"Gretchen considered this the ultimate job for helping children," said her son Michael Strong. She had become familiar with the school when her other son, William A. Strong Jr., was a student there.

"She worked tirelessly to make sure that children with learning differences received the education and support they needed," Michael Strong said.

Mrs. Vare worked with attorneys and educational advocates to ensure that needy families got the same help and funding for their children as others did. She was thrilled when the students developed confidence and self-esteem.

Born in Philadelphia, Mrs. Vare was the daughter of Paige Victor "Vic" Sencindiver, a thoracic and general surgeon in Philadelphia and former mayor of Beach Haven, N.J. Her mother, Joanne Garber Sencindiver, was a nurse. Mrs. Vare was raised in Merion.

She graduated from Archbishop Carroll High School in 1972 and four years later, from Juniata College with a bachelor of science degree in economics.

Mrs. Vare spent summers on Long Beach Island, N.J., where she chaired the junior sailing program and the sailing committee at the Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club in Beach Haven.

"She enjoyed exploring the bay in her sailboat and watching the beautiful sunsets from the deck of her house with family and friends," said Michael Strong.

Surviving, besides her sons and mother, are her husband of 28 years, Henry T. Vare; stepchildren Hank, Debbie, and Jennifer Vare; three brothers; a sister; and many nieces and nephews.

She was previously married to William A. Strong before divorcing. He survives.

There will be a gathering in the Quaker tradition Thursday, Aug. 28, at Stratford Friends School, 2 Bishop Hollow Rd., Newtown Square, Pa., 19073. The meetinghouse doors open at 1 p.m. Remembrances will start at 1:30.

A memorial service will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Innocents, Marine Street, Beach Haven, N.J. A reception will follow at the Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club, 401 Berkeley Ave., Beach Haven. Burial is private.

Donations may be made to the Stratford Friends School at the address above.


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