Gretchen DeLong, former Fauquier County land planner and horsewoman, died on January 16, 2020, in Fairfax, Va. She was 68.
Born in Washington, D.C., to Allen Rhodes DeLong and Helen Jane Voelcker DeLong, Gretchen graduated in 1969 from The Holton Arms School, Bethesda, Md., and in 1975 from George Washington University, Washington, D.C., with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She also received an Associate of Arts degree from Briarcliff Junior College, Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., where she studied cartography.
After college, Gretchen worked for Dewberry, Nealon, and Davis (now Dewberry) in Fairfax, Va., as a cartographer, or mapmaker, managing the quality control and production of some of the first maps of flood hazards across the U.S. It was at Dewberry that Gretchen met Edward G. Beadenkopf, and they married in 1979.
Gretchen moved to Denver, Colorado in 1979 and worked as a land use planner for the Town of Northglenn, Co.
In 1985 Gretchen moved to Fauquier County, Va., and had the privilege of working for Richard (Dick) McNear as a Fauquier County Planner. Gretchen retired from the County in 1999 and later served as a Consultant to the County, where she used her expertise as a county planner and mapmaker to reconcile property boundary drawings for use in the County Geographic Information System.
In 1992, Gretchen focused all her attention on her lifelong love of horses at Diamond Hill Farm, located near The Springs, where she bred horses and cared for her beloved animals.
Gretchen’s love for all animals and particularly horses started at an early age. Her maternal grandfather from Texas had her on a horse as soon as she could walk, and her mother made sure Gretchen got to all her riding lessons as a young woman growing up in suburban Maryland.
Her first big purchase after college after moving to Virginia was a cross Arabian and Quarter Horse she renamed as Beauregard Magnolia IV. She later confided to her husband, with a smile while batting her eye lashes, that she made up this name to give Beau a proper Southern name.
Gretchen learned to ride English seat; however, her time in Denver introduced her to Western riding and her devotion to quarter horses.
At Diamond Hill Farm, Gretchen bred and trained her horses, and they showed well at horse shows in the area, including Warrenton, Upperville, and Morvin Park.
In her last years in Fauquier County, Gretchen was befriended by and sang for a short time with the choir of St. James Episcopal Church in Warrenton. She treasured their gift to her of kindness, love, and everlasting friendship.
Gretchen is survived by her husband of 41 years, Edward G. Beadenkopf, of Herndon, Va., her sister, Diane DeLong Fitzpatrick, niece Leslie Tyrone, and nephews Charles Fitzpatrick and Matthew Fitzpatrick.
Gretchen will be laid to rest with her mother and grandparents in Houston, Texas, but she always considered Fauquier County to be her true home.
A tribute to the life of Gretchen will be held near Warrenton at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to St. James Episcopal Church in Warrenton, Va.