Lynn Marion Bretz, former director of University Communications at the University of Kansas, died at her home after a long battle with cancer on Sunday, May 27, 2012. She was preceded in death by her loving partner of 30 years Janet Hamburg, her mother Marion, and her father Marshall. She is survived by her sister Anne Bretz-Aronoff and husband Richard, New York City and Kerhonkson, N.Y.; brother Bob Bretz and wife Jackie, Bowling Green, KY.; brother Lewis Bretz and wife Pam, Tasmania, Australia; eight nieces and nephews; and a multitude of friends.
Lynn was born December 18, 1949, in Ruston, LA. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English in 1971 from KU and did graduate work in journalism at KU. She also received a master’s degree in English from the University of Denver. She had essays published in two books, “Landscapes in Kansas: Paintings by Robert Sudlow” and “Through the Looking Glass: Elizabeth ‘Grandma’ Layton,” and wrote articles for Ms Magazine, Kansas Alumni Magazine and the Kansas City Star Magazine. Before joining the staff at KU, Lynn worked for Commodity News Services, a division of Knight Ridder, in Leawood, KS. and for the Lawrence Journal-World. She began at KU as a writer and editor for University Relations, where she progressed to become director in 2002, having served as interim director for three years. Lynn was named Director of University Communications for KU in 2006, a position she held until 2011.
Lynn was an avid advocate for KU, working tirelessly behind the scenes. She also found time to mentor students interested in journalism, serving as media advisor to many groups. In 2011 Lynn was inducted into the KU Women’s Hall of Fame. She was a loyal patron of the performing arts and was herself an accomplished musician. She studied piano and violin for many years and in her early years in Lawrence was a member of a local bluegrass band. Growing up in Louisiana, Lynn was an accomplished golfer and in Lawrence spent many summers playing softball. She loved movies, books, traveling, and was an ardent fan of KU basketball.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the KU Endowment Association in support of the Janet Hamburg Visiting Artist Series. Those may be sent in care of the Warren-Mcelwain Mortuary in Lawrence.
A memorial celebration of Lynn’s life will be at 11:00 a.m. Friday, June 1, 2012 at Plymouth Congregational Church in Lawrence, KS. Rev. Dr. Peter Luckey will be the officiant. Private inurnment will be held at Pioneer Cemetery.
Lynn was not only a wonderful person, but also an excellent colleague and valued friend. I will miss her very much.
I was privileged to have known Lynn long ago when we were young, but also to share in her battle with cancer which she undertook with strength and grace. May all who knew and loved her sense God’s presence and experience his comfort and peace.
My wife Roziany and I have just learned of Lynn’s passing and I am filled with much sadness.. Lynn and I were colleagues and friends for 13 years when I worked at KU, and Roziany and I also have fond memories of she and Janet staying with us in Brazil a few years ago. Although we lost contact in recent years, I will always remember Lynn for her inquisitive mind and sharp intellect, as well as much warmth and kindness she showed me as a friend. With great sadness and condolences to all her friends and family – Jeremy Pilkington (London, UK)
It enriched my life to know Lynn and I mourn her passing with much sadness.
Lynn was my classmate for twelve years from first grade through our senior year at Ruston High School, where she was my debate partner. I always admired her mind, her strength, her courage, her focus, and so many other wonderful qualities, which she displayed so clearly in her fight against cancer. I shall always miss her presence, remember her wonderful qualities, and wish her God’s blessings and peace.
Too two very wonderful people of my church Richard & Ann Aronoff who loved Lynn so very much and her family that remains, I send you much sympathy and prayer. I did not know Lynn, but based on what I see and hear, she was one wonderful, amazing woman and her spirit will be with all of you always!! With much sincerety, Colleen
I did not know Lynn personally, but knew of her through her sister Anne and brother-in-law Richard Aronoff.Her biography makes it clear what a big loss this is , for her family, her friends, our society. My condolences.
I will never forget that rare combination of wit, practicality and sheer brilliance that was Lynn. I wish comfort to her valiant family and close friends who travelled the journey with her.
To One of the WONDERFUL women in my life, may you rest in peace, Lynn. Both you and Janet, eternally connected again, are truly loved and missed by the many who were privileged to call you Friends…
My family of two children grew up alongside the home of Lynn and Janet. Through their childhood years Lynn and Janet were always supportive of our family and I knew that they had the best of wishes for our children. Their strong bond was a wonderful role model for my children to be a witness to.
Lynn Bretz was a real champion and a beautiful person. Very brave and courageous throughout the most difficult time that anyone can endure. She set the example for determination and grace. May she rest in peace. I’m so sorry that I will not be in Kansas to say goodbye. Love to her family, my cousins.
Lynn was a wonderful & beautiful person on the inside and out. She gave 100% to all that she was involved. I am privileged to have known Lynn as well as her partner Janet for 9 years of cleaning thier home. She will be greatly missed.
Although we did not know Lynn
personally, we have learned
about her through Anne and Richard. Her passing is a great loss to all who knew her. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Caryl and Jack Perlmutter
Condolences and deepest sympathies to the family of remarkable Lynn Bretz. What quiet strength and lovingkindness she demonstrated. She and Janet remain in our hearts, powerfully,
Julie and David
I’ve just heard the news today from a mutual friend. I’m so deeply saddened by the news of Lynn and of Janet’s passing.
Having known Lynn since 1975 and remembering her as a talented violinist and jazz pianist. I have always treasured memories of spending time and making music with her.
We just learned of Lynn’s passing from my brother-in-law, who was Janet’s cousin. She and Janet were truly lovely people. We are sorry to have lost them both and extend our deep condolences to Lynn’s family.
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