Gloria Gosch Sparkman, 93, of San Antonio, Texas, passed away peacefully on August 11, 2020.
Gloria was born October 16, 1926, in San Saba, Texas, to Clarence and Willie Belle Harris Gosch. She is preceded in death by many of her beloved family members and friends.
She is survived by her only child, Patricia Wilson Whitehurst, of Devine, Texas; her grandson, William (Bill) Russel Whitehurst IV, and his wife, Kayme Diggans Whitehurst, of Sabinal, Texas; and her granddaughter, Katherine (Katie) Louise Ehlers and her husband, Matt Ehlers, of Austin, Texas. Gloria is also survived by her great-grandchildren: Chelsea Rae Whitehurst, Emily Rhyann Whitehurst and William (Cinco) Russel Whitehurst V of Sabinal, Texas; and her great-great grandchildren: Avery Grace and Logan Ryan Landeros of Sabinal, Texas, and Lily James Ehlers of Austin, Texas. Gloria also leaves behind many cousins and friends who felt like family.
Gloria began her life in San Saba, Texas, graduating from San Saba High School in 1944. During her first 18 years, Gloria experienced the Great Depression and World War II, making her a member of our invaluable and impermeable Greatest Generation. As a young woman serving on the Home Front of the war, Gloria assisted in many community war efforts including wrapping bandages for soldiers and writing letters to her friends and neighbors serving oversees. Many, many years later, Gloria sent those letters written during war time to the loved ones of those who served. Gloria longed to join the fight as a nurse, but her parents persuaded her to attend college as an education major. Gloria moved to Waco, Texas, and attended Baylor University in the fall of 1944. She transferred to West Texas State Teacher’s College (now West Texas A&M University) in Canyon, Texas, in 1947, and graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Home Economics/Education in 1948.
Gloria began her teaching career in Memphis, Texas, and would continue to teach in the Panhandle until 1965. In Memphis, she met her first husband, Willie Ben Wilson, Jr., and they were married July 17, 1950. Almost two years later, they welcomed their only child, Patricia Ann Wilson. A World War II Army Air Forces veteran and an insurance salesman in Memphis, Ben was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and passed away from complications from the disease in 1963. Shortly thereafter, Gloria and Pat moved to San Antonio, Texas, where Gloria would spend the rest of her life.
In San Antonio, Gloria and her daughter found their spiritual home at Laurel Heights United Methodist Church and joined the parish in 1966. Gloria loved the church, serving on many a committee, performing in the bell choir, and later becoming an active member in the “Super Adults” group she loved so much.
While Gloria continued teaching Home Economics in the San Antonio Independent School District, she obtained her master’s degree in Counseling from St. Mary’s University and graduated in May 1968. She also completed post-graduate work at Incarnate Word and at Texas Women’s University. Gloria married her second husband, Everett Sparkman, in August of 1968 and shared 20 years with him, his children, and their families.
After Gloria retired from San Antonio Independent School District, she moved to Lytle, Texas, and continued to substitute teach for several years. Gloria moved back to San Antonio in 1988 and began work at The Psychological Corporation, where she met many wonderful friends. She retired (again) from working in the mid-1990s.
A glowing example of a pure Christian, Gloria spent many hours volunteering in her community. From visiting the elderly, to visiting men fighting through their last days with AIDS, to working at the Lions Club assisting with eye exams - she was servant-minded her entire life.
Gloria, affectionately nicknamed “Nene” by her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren, and “Goga” by her aunts/uncles and cousins, loved playing dice and card games with her family, traveling, reading, and supporting her grandchildren and great-grandchildren at their events. She was independent, open-minded, and a truly beautiful example of someone who puts family first.
A Memorial Service to celebrate her life will be scheduled at a later date at Laurel Heights United Methodist Church. The family thanks each and every one of her friends who fulfilled her life and enriched her heart - she will be missed by so many, but those of us left behind have cherished memories of a wonderful human being who they were so fortunate to call family or friend. If you are inclined to memorialize Gloria, donations can be made in her name to Laurel Heights United Methodist Church, 227 W. Woodlawn, San Antonio, Texas 78212.