With the death of her father to cancer in 1983, Gretchen realized how unprepared she and her family were to deal with the emotional issues and the needs of a dying loved one. Committed to finding a way to help others as they travel through this end stage of life’s journey, Gretchen decided to pursue a master’s degree in human development, with a concentration in the care of the dying. She studied extensively in England, as England is known internationally for its highly advanced, community-based hospice care system. Upon completing her studies, Gretchen founded Tamarisk in 1993, which is based on the fundamentals of the philosophy of hospice.