You were the best mom, grandmother, great-grandmother in the world before dementia took over your life. You were bright and sparkly and beautiful, full of energy and enthusiasm for every new adventure dad planned for you and all of us.
You grew up on a farm on the flats in Harmony District of Mount Vernon with your mom and dad, an only child. You had imaginary friends. Your bike, not a horse, was your favorite mode of transportation. You wanted to live in the city, so when Dad married you and brought you to Sedro-Woolley, you were so happy there. You could walk to town anytime you wanted and ride bikes with your dear friend, Ruth Gross, into your 80’s.
You longed to travel, but we are guessing your first trip on an airplane was when dad took you on a European vacation after he retired to show you all the places he served during World War II. But that did not mean our family had never been to the airport! You and Dad would pick us up from Mary Purcell, load us in the family station wagon with hot potatoes wrapped in foil and we would head to SeaTac Airport. There we watched planes arrive and depart as there was no security keeping us out. Amazingly, these are incredible memories for all of us.
We took 60 and 75 day summer trips in our little Apache pop-up trailer to all of the U.S. States and Provinces of Canada. On the back of the trailer you wrote, “Hi, we’re from Sedro-Woolley, Washington!” You made all of us kids wave every time a car passed us. You always headed to the bathroom when it was time to fold up the Apache so all of us kids knew how to help dad.
You and dad were incredible role models for your children, your grandchildren and all of your great-grandchildren. Shortly after dad died, you would have celebrated your 74th wedding anniversary. Even at 93 and 94 years of age, you and dad sat holding hands or dancing together as he sang, “Tennessee Waltz” in your ear. He told you every single day how much he loved you, even when you did not recognize him. You were loved and adored by your handsome husband, George.
You taught Sunday School and Confirmation for years at church, touching so many young lives with your faith and love of Jesus. Special memories are of you reading us Bible stories in front of the fireplace at home. Amazingly, even in your dementia, you loved the Lord and talked about Jesus. You passed on your faith to all of us.
Your only job, aside from working at Ilo Sande’s Jewelry Store right out of high school, was volunteering as the Bethlehem Lutheran Church secretary and organist and playing the organ for funerals at Lemley Chapel. You were always home for us when we got out of school.
You stood up for us girls when the school counselor thought our skirts were too short. You were the proudest mom ever when your son played high school and college sports. You had to be the disciplinarian because dad was such a softie, plus he could never hear us so we always asked him permission to do things we knew might get the thumbs down from you.
You kept up with the family snow skiing and even slid down the entire face of Honkers in your slippery yellow ski jumpsuit. You skied with the family until you broke your hip and then stayed in the condo making soup and homemade bread for us when we came in for lunch at the mountain.
You sewed all our clothes. We would show you a picture in “Seventeen” magazine and you would create it. You were always sewing, knitting, crocheting and needlepointing. You never sat still; always on the go. You could move faster than any person we knew and we had a hard time keeping up with you.
Even though you were frightened of water, you made sure all of us learned to swim and had a wonderful place to grow up on Big Lake. While all of us were enjoying the lake, you were in the house preparing meals and washing and ironing clothes so all of us could play.
You and Dad loved Seattle and all of us had the advantage of living in a small town, but experiencing the city every chance we got. You and dad had season tickets to Seahawks, Sonics, and Husky games, as well as plays, musicals and symphonies. We have never known anyone who went to Seattle more times in a month than you and Dad. You had amazing lifelong friends because you were an amazing friend.
At the end of your life, we would ask if you were ready to go to your Lord and Savior in Heaven and you would say that you still had more work to do for Him on earth. We had no idea what that could be as you rarely even knew any of us, but who can argue that.
You were honored right along with dad by 100’s of people at his memorial service a year ago because you two were always a team, so we see no reason to have another service. All your life you said that you did not want to be honored at the end of your days on earth, all glory goes to God!
With our love, Rick & Cheri, Dave & Patti, Jon & Lorna, Geoff & Monique, Ryan & Shawna, Jon & Jessaca, Nate & Kate, Nick & Jessica, Mikey & Linnzi, Ryan & Katie, Jaedon, Kai, Mary, Pearl, Otto, Ally, Ellie, Molly, Baker, Boden, Archer, Penelope, Elsie, Jess.
Memorials can be made to Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Big Lake Fire Department or Make-A-Wish Foundation in her memory or any charity of your choice. Gladys will be laid to rest next to her husband, George at Pleasant Ridge Cemetery, La Conner. Share your memories of Gladys and sign the online guest register at www.lemleychapel.com.