Gladys Faye Matthews was born July 2, 1923 to Willie Washington Wheat & Lena Mae Bryan Wheat in Wingate, TX. She passed away December 29, 2017 at the Allison Care Unit at Baptist Memorial. Family visitation will be at Harper Funeral Home on Tuesday, January 2, 2018 from 5-7pm. Funeral service will be Wednesday, January 3, 2018 at 2:00 at Harris Avenue Baptist Church. Internment will follow at Lawnhaven Memorial Cemetery.
Gladys was born and raised at the family farm outside Wingate, Texas and graduated from Wingate High School in 1941. The planned trip for the senior class trip was cancelled due to Gladys’ being ill at the time. All the money raised for the trip was given to Gladys’ parents to help with medical bills during her illness.
After graduation, she worked in the school cafeteria to help pay for her brothers’ and sister’s lunches at school. She later moved to Abilene and went to work at TS Lankford where she contributed to the war effort by sewing buttons on fatigues.
She initially met W.F. in Winters, Texas after he returned from the war in late 1945, and they began dating shortly after. They were married December 12, 1946 in Abilene, Texas. They were married for 66 years until W.F.’s passing in 2013.
They farmed in Runnels County for several years until they moved to Midland in 1950 for work. Their first son, Randy, was born in 1955. They then moved to San Angelo in 1956, where their second son, Tommy, was born in 1957. Gladys was a homemaker until the boys became of age to attend public school. At that time, she went to work at Harris Avenue Baptist Church Daycare until 1985 when she retired. She taught kindergarten Sunday school at Harris Avenue Baptist Church every Sunday for over 28 years. She was also a member of the Rachel Sunday School class and was an active member at Harris Avenue until her health prevented her from attending regularly the last few years.
Growing up during the depression was a challenge, as there were many mouths to feed under the roof at the Wheat farm north of Wingate. Gladys learned to get up early, get her chores done, get to school on time and return home for more chores. It taught her resiliency and a toughness that was not visible from the outside. These traits continued as she later ran her own home on very few dollars. She was the first up and the last to bed every day. She saw to it that W.F. had a lunch packed, a thermos full of coffee and a kiss before he left for work, usually before daylight. Often, it was after dark before he returned, where she had a hot meal on the table and an immaculate house. While he was gone, she tended to the boys, their schoolwork, church activities and anything else that came her way.
After the boys were gone from home, this regimen continued. When W.F.’s health began declining in his later years, Gladys was again called upon to be resilient day in and day out as W.F.’s primary caregiver.
Gladys was known well by her family and friends for her resourcefulness. From the many, often ingenious kitchen items reused, to any amount of prepared food left over, nothing was wasted or lost under her watch.
She was preceded in death by her husband and her parents; as well as brothers Cullen, Jerry, Bryan, and Arley Wheat and sister, Veda Briley.
She is survived by children, Randy & wife Kathy, Tommy & wife Christi. Grandchildren, Justin, Mason & wife Brenna, Brian & wife Ashlee, Mickey & wife Kayla, Bradley & wife Stephanie, & Dillon & wife Kate Matthews also survive her. A very special ‘adopted’ grandson, Martin Mazinga also survives her. She also leaves behind six great grandchildren. She is also survived by her brother and wife, Gene & Jeanie Wheat, and sister-in-law, Joy Wheat as well as many nieces & nephews, cousins & a host of friends.
Grandsons will be pallbearers. The family would like to express their heart-felt gratitude to the wonderful caregivers at the Allison House at Baptist Memorial. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Meals for the Elderly or your favorite charity.