Etzwiler was president and CEO of the Minneapolis Foundation from 1984 to 1994, quadrupling the foundation’s assets and expanding its community grantmaking and programing. She also served on numerous nonprofit, foundation and educational boards including Planned Parenthood, the Minneapolis Neighborhood Revitalization Program and the Dean’s Advisory Council at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.
Etzwiler was born in Chicago and graduated from Indiana University in 1950 with a major in physics and minor in mathematics. Her mother was a musician and her father, who sparked her love of science, was an engineer.
She married her college sweetheart, Donnell Etzwiler, and went to work as a project engineer for aviation and rubber companies. In the late 1950s, she left her career to start a family and care for her four children, but returned to the workforce in the 1970s. She helped establish and later lead CHART, now called WomenVenture, which assists women entering and re-entering the workforce.
Etzwiler was preceded in death by her husband, John Shepherd, and her former husband, Donnell. Besides David and Nancy, she is survived by daughters Lisa, of Chesterfield, Mo., and Dee, of Eugene, Ore.; stepchildren, Roger Shepherd, of Rochester, and Gillian Mestre, of New York City; 16 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.