Gladys Jean Wilson
July 16, 1926 – November 30, 2018
The Early Years
Gladys Jean Wilson passed away peacefully on November 30, 2018 at the age of 92 while convalescing at Evening Grace Assisted Living in Northridge, California. Gladys was born at 6:30 a.m. on Friday, July 16, 1926 in Santa Monica, California to Albert B. Phillips and Mahala Jane Phillips. Like all her brothers and sisters, Gladys was born at home. She was the youngest of six children of which five would survive to adulthood. Nearly all of Gladys’ early years were spent growing up with her brothers and sisters at the family’s home on Federal Avenue. She attended Brockton Avenue Elementary School and later Emerson Junior High School. As a child, Gladys was an active member of the Girl Scouts of America. It was at Emerson Junior High where Gladys met Norma Jean Baker who would later go on to become the glamorous starlet, Marilyn Monroe. Gladys and Marilyn had lockers next to each other and they became friends. After Emerson, Gladys attended University High School where she would often visit with Marilyn on the gym steps. In the 10th grade, Gladys met Bill Wilson who she would later marry. Gladys was Vice President of her graduating class and gave the Valedictorian address at her graduation commencement. She went on to enroll at the University of California at Los Angeles in October of 1944 and attended for several semesters.
The Middle Years
Bill Wilson graduated from University High School and returned from the war in the south Pacific to marry Gladys on March 14, 1947. The couple made a handsome pair. In the following years, the stork came and visited Gladys and Bill three times, delivering three boys, Jeffrey, Roger, and Philip. The family moved from their small cottage in Santa Monica to a house in Mar Vista and later to a new house in Reseda in the San Fernando Valley. Gladys became a dedicated housewife and mother. Summer months were full of family boating, water skiing, camping, swimming, and fishing. Gladys would also take the kids to the beach and fishing at the Ventura pier. Years of camping at Bass Lake, California gave way to boating on the Colorado River in Arizona. Large family barbeques, holiday dinners, and trips to the River with friends were popular occasions. Gladys always managed to keep everyone fed. All three boys eventually graduated from high school and went their separate ways. Unfortunately, Gladys and Bill grew apart during the following years and divorced after 35 years of marriage. Although they were apart, the foundation of love and mutual respect remained in their hearts.
The Later Years
Gladys eventually came to live in Newbury Park, California and made many new friends. She volunteered at the Mary Health of the Sick thrift store and also worked part time. She traveled extensively with sisters and brothers to various international destinations, including China, Africa, Europe, and Russia. Gladys was active in the Shirley Temple club and also amassed a large doll collection from all over the world. Sleeping in the doll room was always a bit scary with all those eyes staring at you. Gladys’ past friendship with Marilyn Monroe resulted in numerous television interviews including Geraldo Rivera, Joan Rivers, and Lisa Gibbons. Gladys was also a big Los Angeles Lakers fan and was always quick to give her comments on how the team was playing. As the years passed, Gladys’ health declined to where she needed daily assistance. Youngest son and wife, Philip and Patti, watched closely over Gladys making sure that all her needs were met. Sons Jeff and Roger traveled to visit as often as possible. Gladys was always anxious to see her grown kids.
Gladys is now in heaven with her parents and all of her brothers and sisters. However, her life lives on in the loving memories of her grown her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and close friends. Gladys was preceded in death by her husband, Billy Wilson, in 1997. She is survived by her three children, Jeffrey, Roger, and Philip Wilson and their respective spouses Maria, Stephanie, and Patti Wilson. Grandchildren include Jon and Ryan Wilson, Kristina White, Scott Wilson, Jackie Palmer, and Deanne Wilson. Great grandchildren include Amy and Eugene Wilson, and Kennedy White. She also leaves behind many dear friends.
IN THE CARE OF