Gladys Freeman King was born in Newell, Alabama on October 5, 1932 to William and Helen (Traylor) Freeman. She was the youngest girl of 17 siblings. She attended Mt. Gilead Elementary School and graduated from Cobb High School located in Aniston, Alabama in 1950. She had a penchant for learning and desired to become a librarian but deferred her dream to take care of her mother never losing her thirst for knowledge and learning. In 1952 she attended Nursing School at Grady Memorial School of Nursing in Atlanta, Georgia, graduating with a degree in nursing. She worked at the Aniston Memorial Hospital for three years before marrying Charlie (Charles) J. King on September 7, 1957. The couple resided in Cincinnati and Gladys attended the University of Cincinnati for further study later moving to Cleveland in 1961. In 1964, Charles and Gladys joined Lee Heights Community Church and were members for over 30 years. After arriving in Cleveland, Gladys began her career as a registered nurse at the Brecksville VA Hospital from 1961 until her retirement in 1998. Taking care of America’s wounded warriors was her greatest honor and joy. After raising her children, Gladys went back to college to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Ursuline College in 1998.
Gladys and Charles raised their children, Chuck (First Sergeant Charles M. King), born in 1958 and daughter Gail (Gail King Gibson, Esq.), born in 1964 to be God-fearing. She made sure that her children had every opportunity to succeed in life. She believed in the power of education to change one’s circumstances, but she relied upon God’s unchanging hand to guide her through this life. Her faith was strong and unwavering. Her bedrocks were God and family.
She was curious, adventurous and fearless – all with a quiet and compassionate spirit. She was an avid reader, a classical music enthusiast, a lover of antiques, fine jewelry, china and art. She believed that art could teach humanity. She was a gifted storyteller and loved to tell her family stories about growing up in the South, singing for Marian Anderson and Dr. Martin Luther King. In retirement, she enjoyed spending time with all of her many nieces and nephews but especially her niece Barbara and nephew Lorenzo and traveling the globe with family and friends.
Gladys and Charles lost their son in 2006 during the Iraq War. Her husband of 55 years passed in 2012. She knew heartache and sorrow, but she moved beyond it with grace and dignity.
She was preceded in death by all of her siblings. She is survived by her devoted daughter, Gail King Gibson, Esq. and husband Tarrice Gibson, granddaughter Christina King, grandson Jordan Canedy, Lorenzo (nephew) and Jackie Freeman, Barbara (niece) and Howard Holley and a host of nieces, nephews and friends.
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