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Gretchen Fassbinder

Cloisonne artist, gregarious personality, grandmother

Gretchen Fassbinder, a 54-year Claremont resident, died October 1. She was 81 years old.  

Mrs. Fassbinder was born on March 25, 1937 in Charleston, West Virginia to Edward and Eleanor Day.

The family moved to Ellensburg, Washington in 1953. Young Gretchen attended the University of Washington, where she met her husband of 56 years, John Fassbinder.

The couple moved to Claremont in 1963, where they raised their two children, Sam and Molly. While her husband was studying art at Claremont Graduate School, Mrs. Fassbinder did dry mounting of artworks at Scripps College and worked in graphics at the Claremont COURIER for about two years.

She was a great supporter and promoter of her husband’s career as a noted potter. A 2003 Daily Bulletin feature story on the couple noted that the two complimented each other, with her gregarious personality and vibrant smile and Mr. Fassbinder’s low-key manner.

And while she managed her husband’s pottery business, she was also a talented artist in her own right. She created wearable art, specializing in Cloisonne enameling, an ancient technique for decorating metalwork objects. Her influences were organic motifs and the naïve paintings of Yugoslavia and the Middle East.   

Her husband, John Fassbinder, preceded her in death in 2014.

Mrs. Fassbinder is survived by her two children, Sam Fassbinder and Molly Cox; three grandchildren, Hannah Cox, Michelle Cox and Lucy Cox; brother, Edward Day; and sisters-in-law Eileen Day and Leslie Day.  

A memorial gathering will be held Saturday, November 17. Those interested in attending should contact her daughter, Molly Cox.