This is Gladys. She is a Mormon Woman, lives in Canada, and today is her 87th birthday! (This picture was taken nearly 5 years ago with one of her great-grandsons.)

Gladys was born the youngest of 11 children –today, she is the only living sibling in her immediate family. Her parents came from Utah and settled in Canada before she was born. She has been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints her entire life, and she loves the gospel.

Gladys worked as a phone operator for 10 years, in a bank for 1 1/2 years in Salt Lake City (Utah), taught in schools as an aid in Idaho and Canada, and managed an LDS (Mormon) bookstore for 12 1/2 years. She retired at the age of 70! But her longest career so far has been that of a mother. She has 6 children, 21 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren (with 2 more on the way), and 1 great-great-grandchild.

For 43 years and 8 months, Gladys was married to the love of her life. He died nearly 11 years ago, but she says she still feels close to him in the Temple. One time, a grandchild asked her why she didn’t visit her husband’s grave at the cemetery. Gladys responded: “I know he is not there in the cemetery. His spirit is elsewhere; that’s just his body. When I want to feel close to my husband, I go to the Temple. That is where I can feel him and feel his love for me. Going there reminds me that I will see him again, soon.”

Gladys has many hobbies and talents. Some of them include: playing the organ and piano, singing, dancing, making angel food cakes and chocolates from scratch, and traveling. Dancing was always a part of her life. For decades, she would attend dances nearly 3 times a week. She even met her husband at a dance. “That was a different time,” she says of the dances. “We danced real dances back then; it was exercise!” Another hobby Gladys enjoys is visiting as many Temples as she can. To date, she has been to 19 different Mormon Temples. She loves to travel and has been to Lima, Peru; Jerusalem; Hawaii; and all over the United States and parts of Canada.

When Gladys was in her late 20’s, she had the opportunity to serve a mission for the Mormon Church. She was called to labor for 20 months in the Eastern United States Mission from 1948 to 1950. Of this experience, Gladys says, “Serving a mission strengthened my testimony greatly. We would track every day and usually I was the only one who could play the piano in the branches and wards (congregations). I served a month in Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), and then did the Hill Cumorah Pageant (A Witness for Christ) in Palmyra, New York, and practiced every day. Being around the Sacred Grove and places where the Church was restored really strengthened my testimony. Afterwards, I went to Norwich, New York for a year to serve…”

Recently, Gladys was a Visiting Teaching supervisor in her ward [congregation], and she served as a Temple Patron for 2 years (Temple Patrons are asked to attend the Temple twice a week during their call). When asked what she loves the most about being a Mormon Woman, she said: “Families can be together forever because we have Temples. I know I’ll see my family again. Also, we are taught from a young age the law of health (Word of Wisdom) which has given me health for life. I truly believe I am healthy because of it!

I’m 87 years old and doing great. I’m still active. I still love to be in my kitchen dipping 50 pounds of chocolates a year. I also make 150-200 cakes a year. Also, because we were taught to stay physically active, I was able to dance for many years. I know the gospel is a gift, and I’m grateful to have it in my life.”

For more Portraits of Mormon Women, please click here.