“My mother was a special educator,” says Gretchen Dubie, a Catholic school student through college in Burlington, Vermont. “I was fascinated by her students’ honesty and humor.” In 1994, one day after graduating from all-girls Trinity College with degrees in special education and psychology, Dubie and two friends hit the road for Alaska and summer work in a cannery. Returning in September with a new boyfriend, Chris Gadsby, she stopped in Eugene to visit an old friend. “The car was ransacked while we slept,” she says, and in the time it took to replace car documents, they had decided to stay. “Six months later I was pregnant.” The couple had two kids, Anaiese and Brautigan, a marriage in 1998 and a divorce in 2002. She put in 13 years of work for Relief Nursery, a local agency that supports younger at-risk kids and their families. “I wore many hats there,” says Dubie, who teamed with Dr. Lori Britain to open nine regional Relief Nurseries in Oregon and five in Ukraine, by way of a USAID grant. “I was an expert witness for the state in parental termination cases. It was difficult for me as a new mom.” But it prepared her for selection, in 2009, as executive director of the Oregon Supported Living Program, a unionized nonprofit with 190 employees that supports adults with developmental disabilities. “My pride and joy is the OSLP Arts and Culture Program,” she says. “We started it in 2012, to provide recreational opportunities for the folks we serve. It has become a source of happiness for so many people.” Visit the program’s Lincoln Gallery at 309 W. 4th Ave. in Eugene, open weekdays from 10 am to 5 pm.
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