Gladys Elaine Major was born January 16, 1921 in Urbana, Missouri, daughter of Walter Perry Howard and Sarah Lenora (Thomas) Howard. Her family moved to McPherson, Kansas when Gladys was six. Her best friend was and always has been her sister, Edythe, who was just 2 years younger than her. In her teens she became a bookkeeper for John Deere.
Some of Gladys' friends invited her to the movies to introduce her to a young gentleman by the name of Alden Valdimer Major. They instantly hit it off and were married on January 1, 1941 in McPherson.
They made their home in Abilene, Kansas. From Abilene they moved to McCook, Nebraska, then to Dodge City, Kansas where Alden began his career with Gambles Stores. In 1952, their prayers were answered when they were able to adopt their daughter, Patricia Elaine.
In 1953, they moved to Anthony, Kansas where they purchased the local Gambles, running the store for 30 years until retiring in 1983.
Being a mother and grandmother were Gladys' greatest joys in life. She had a great balance between running the family business and being a mother. She had the biggest heart and always wanted what was best for everyone. She enjoyed all children and was always available to any family in need of a babysitter. She was a very special grandmother and always insisted on babysitting her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her great-grandchildren kept her young as she was able to remain at home and continued to babysit into her 80's. The special bonds she held with each grandchild and great-grandchild were strong and amazing. She taught them many life lessons and they taught her how to keep up with the times by introducing her to things like snap-chat. She swelled with pride for every accomplishment her family made.
Gladys was an active member of the United Methodist Church and United Methodist Women. She taught Sunday school, helped with funeral dinners, worked at the Thrift Store, and always thrived to be as good as she could to her church family, willing to help any family in need. In 1944, Gladys joined the Order of the Eastern Star. She served as Worthy Matron more than once, attended a couple of international meetings, and would have received her 75 year pin this October. She stayed active in the organization until her health prevented her to.
In 2012, Gladys and Alden celebrated their 71st anniversary. They shared a special bond, always showing unconditional love for one another and communicating openly. Gladys' intensity and Alden's calmness were a perfect balance for the two. Sadly, Alden passed away September 6, 2012.
In 2017, Gladys moved into the Anthony Community Care Center. She felt welcomed by the loving staff. She really looked forward to her outings with her granddaughter, getting her hair and nails done, driving around town or traveling to Wellington. She also truly appreciated her good friend, Clara Newton, visiting her on a regular basis.
On June 27, 2019, Gladys passed away surrounded by her family at the Harper Hospital at the age of 98 years, 5 months and 11 days. She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Alden; and siblings: Josephine and Lloyd.
Gladys will be deeply missed and forever in the hearts of her daughter, Patricia Mayo and husband, Jack; grandchildren: Christopher Mayo and wife, Robin, and Jennifer Hamill and husband, Billy; sister, Edythe Funk; great-grandchildren: Morgan, Ashley, Logan, Katie, Garrett, Tanner and Emma; and a host of other relatives and many friends.
Funeral service will be held 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 3, 2019 at Prairie Rose Funeral Home in Anthony with Pastor Kim Martin and Pastor Brenda Kostner-Johnson officiating. Musical selections "In the Garden," "Blessings" and "I Can Only Imagine," will be played.
Burial will follow in Forest Park Cemetery. Casket bearers will be Logan Hamill, Garrett Hamill, Tanner Mayo, Ethan Bergman, Chris Mayo and Billy Hamill.
Memorials in memory of Gladys may be made to Higher Grounds & Leather Bounds (for the youth programs), and may be sent in care of the funeral home.
Prairie Rose Funeral Homes, 602 E. Main St., Anthony, KS 67003, is in charge of arrangements. www.prairierosefuneralhomes.com