This is Gloria, and she is a Mormon Woman.

Gloria is 81 but feels and acts like she’s still 30. This is because she loves her healthy lifestyle. Gloria walks, at a jogger’s pace, miles and miles each day. She loves to eat fruit, nuts and nonfat yogurt as a late night snack. Gloria loves organic vegetables and lean meats. When asked what her doctor says about her health she said, “Oh he says I’m very healthy.”

Gloria loves, loves, loves musicals. In the early years of their marriage, Gloria and her husband Lee would usher for musicals in their city so they could see the productions for free. Gloria often bursts out into song with words from these beloved musicals as the situation requires. She loves to write skits, collects costumes and can light up a room wherever she goes. Gloria’s laughter is loud, and contagious. Smiles attend all who listen to her funny stories and fond memories.

Following is an example of a funny story she told recently. “My mother was talking to my daughters about getting married. She said, ‘Oh my friends threw me a Bridal Shower, but I’d say it was more like a sprinkle.'”

Gloria has been married for 63 years and has 7 children, 32 grandchildren and 44 great grandchildren. She says one of her greatest joys was having all 7 of her children in the Temple at the same time. Gloria and her husband Lee, served a full time mission together in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana mission.

Gloria has had the same group of friends for decades. Some of them have been very dear friends for over 50 years. They enjoyed serving in church callings (service assignments) together, walking daily, holding a weekly scripture study group, going on overnight excursions, holding investment groups and dinner clubs together. When asked about how to keep friendships going for so long she said, “Feelings get hurt. Get over it. It is not worth losing a friendship over trivial things. One time I wrote in my journal that I was getting disenchanted with one of my friends. Within a day or two of writing that entry I came back and wrote, ‘These small and petty slights do not compare to the hardships my friend goes through, it is silly to hold grudges.'”

Gloria’s legacies will be family, friendship and service. Among the friends listed above there was one who was plagued by an undiagnosed illness that stole her mobility. At first, the Doctors assumed it was M.S. or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. But neither matched her conditions. They watched as their friend went from walking to dragging a foot, from carrying a cane to needing to use a wheel chair. Over time, her friend became a quadriplegic and needed full time daily care. These friends, tenderly and willingly cared for this woman for over 40 years. Full time nurses were needed but not always available, so these Scripture Study Sisters, would follow the example of their Savior by washing, feeding and caring for their friend. They would clean her house, come to her calls in the middle of the night, move her from her wheel chair to her bed at the end of the day. All these things they did because they loved her, she was their friend.

Gloria’s service to her family, friends and church were ordinary everyday acts, but together they paint the picture of a very extraordinary woman.

For more Portraits of Mormon Women, please click here.