Gloria Anita Sullivan Whitley


Gloria Anita Sullivan Whitley was born in Goodlett, Texas on March 18, 1929. She passed prepared and peacefully from this life on Dec. 19, 2012.

Funeral was at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, at Granbury Church of Christ. Interment: Dobbs Valley Cemetery in Dobbs Valley, Texas. Visitation was Saturday at Wiley Funeral Home.

Memorials: Anyone wishing to honor the life of Gloria Whitley should simply perform a simple act of kindness for someone in need. (Bonus points if it’s for an elderly person.) For those desiring to do even more, the family suggests that memorials be made in her name to the Hood County Committee on Aging or the Granbury Church of Christ Mission Fund.

A Hood county resident for most of her life, a member of the Granbury Church of Christ for over 60 years, and a pillar of the Granbury community, Gloria’s primary vocation was that of helping others.

After raising her first generation of children, she became one of the earliest employees of Hood General Hospital (now Lake Granbury Medical Center). Her almost two decades of service there included roles as personnel director, interim administrator, and the hospital’s first patient representative.

In the 1990s, she retired briefly and then began some of the most important work of her life—advocating for the senior citizens of Hood County. As a two-time director of Shanley House—later known as the Hood County Committee on Aging—she took the fledgling organization and made it a powerful ally for the elderly among us. She immersed herself in this labor of love and enlisted many new recruits in her cause: local government officials, community and civic leaders, and local churches.

After her third and final official retirement, she experienced one final renaissance as one of the two infamous grannies of “Two Grannies’ Down Home Cookin’” in Glen Rose. For five rewarding years, she and partner June Thomas blessed thousands of people (and the Today Show) by dishing out comfort food and comforting hugs—whether you wanted the latter or not. These were perhaps some of the most enjoyable times of her life—along with basketball season, her visit to mission fields in Jamaica and Chihuahua, Mexico, and anything to do with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Gloria spent her final years living out exactly what she felt she was called to do: visiting her friends who were shut-in or lived in nursing homes and providing caretaker service for—as she described it—“elderly people.”

In the last few weeks before she broke her hip, she was still encouraging her church to develop a plan to become more involved in reaching out to senior citizens—a plan that she wanted to be squarely in the middle of. Her final work was a call to action in a speech she was to give at the 35th anniversary of the senior center just days after she fell, which the local paper printed as a letter to the editor in November.

The family wishes to thank the staff of Harbor Lakes Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and Lake Granbury Medical Center for their generous and compassionate care during her illness and the many friends whose visits, prayers, and songs brightened her final days.

Preceding her in death were her parents, Carl and Anna Mae Manwarring Sullivan, a sister Becky Tilotta Holbrook, her husband of 47 years, Howard Whitley, and her oldest son Mike Whitley.

Survivors: Gloria is survived by a sister Nell Dwyer of Fort Worth, brother Charlie Sullivan of Weatherford, sons Jimmy Whitley of Bluff Dale and Todd Whitley of Dallas, Pam Ferguson, whom she considered a daughter, of Wichita Falls, grandchildren Dana Whitley Buckelew of Granbury, Von Whitley of Los Alamos, N.M., Cindy Whitley Poston of Stephenville, Van Whitley of Fort Worth, Amy Whitley Hayes of Stephenville, Daniel Ferguson and Drew Ferguson of Duncan, Okla., and Zach Whitley and Hayden Whitley of Dallas, ten great-grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews, countless friends, and many “adopted” sons, daughters, and grandchildren.

Wiley Funeral Home made arrangements.