Gretchen Godwin, 49, of Cedar Grove, died Sunday, July 21, 2019.

She was born in Jersey City, the eldest daughter of Drs. Alan and Rene Godwin. She was educated at The Montclair Kimberley Academy, earned a bachelor’s degree from Skidmore College and a masters degree in journalism and mass communication from New York University.

In 1989 she met Nathan Chickering, of Brookline, Mass., at Skidmore College, and they wed in 2002.

Mrs. Godwin had served as the director of marketing at the YMCA of Montclair since 2013. In 2018, she was the recipient of the YMCA Red Triangle award for exceptional staff. She was previously employed at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Merrill Lynch.

She was dedicated to the YMCA’s mission of making sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Through her years of work there Mrs. Godwin helped many members of the Montclair and surrounding communities.

She was predeceased by her father, Dr. Alan Godwin.

Mrs. Godwin is survived by her husband Nathan; daughter Ava; son Jarrett; her mother Dr. Rene Godwin of Cliffside Park; sister Chaz Godwin Ross (and Mitchell Ross) of New York, N.Y.; sister Serena Godwin (and David Meyrowitz) of Montclair; brother Dr. Loyd Godwin (and Sara Godwin) of Weston, Conn.; nieces Samantha, Cate and Madeline Godwin and Stella Ross; and nephew Jed Meyrowitz.

Funeral services are private and will be held at the convenience of the family. To celebrate her life there will be a gathering on Saturday, July 27, noon to 2 p.m. at the Montclair Art Museum, to honor her and share memories and stories. Donations in the memory of Gretchen Godwin can be made to the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation at or The Montclair Kimberley Academy, 201 Valley Road, Montclair, NJ, 07042, or at

"Gretchen joined our Y in 2013 as the director of marketing," wrote Buddy Evans, president and CEO of the YMCA of Montclair. "The YMCA of Montclair was the beneficiary of her extraordinary passion, dedication and talent. Gretchen transformed our marketing and communications to a more forward thinking and dynamic level. Gretchen loved the Y’s commitment to inclusivity, that it was a place that embraces all and changes lives.

"In 2018, Gretchen received the prestigious YMCA Red Triangle Award. The award honors an employee whose YMCA service and leadership has been clearly distinguished by length of time, devotion to our mission and significant achievements in advancing the YMCA of Montclair. We all felt it was much deserved.

"Personally, many of us have experienced Gretchen’s kindness and concern for the well-being of others. Members and staff have stories of how Gretchen helped with a problem or found something special to brighten your day. I don’t think anyone could match her thoughtfulness."