Helen Marie (Waters) Gladhill

Born: Tue., Jun. 13, 1916
Died: Sun., Apr. 22, 2012


Visitation

7:00 PM to 9:00 PM, Tue., Apr. 24, 2012
Location: Donald B Thompson Funeral Home


Funeral Service

2:00 PM Wed., Apr. 25, 2012
Location: Donald B Thompson Funeral Home


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Helen Marie Waters Gladhill died Sunday, April 22 at Glade Valley Nursing Facility. She was the only child of the late Guy P. Waters and Mary Estelle Younkins Waters and the much loved wife of Ray Calvin Gladhill who predeceased her.  Ray and Helen married at 5:30 on an April morning at the Lutheran Parsonage in Middletown.   Ray was known as a practical joker so marrying on the sly was his only hope of getting out of town before his friends found out about his marriage plans and turned the tables on him.
Helen grew up on her parent’s farm, Pleasant Valley on Old Hagerstown Road. She would talk about her father driving her to school with a horse and buggy and spending nights in town with relatives when the snow was too deep to travel back and forth.  When she was older she would board the trolley from the back field on the farm for the trip to school.  She loved relating stories about Towson State College where graduated and became a first grade teacher. After graduation she lived in Baltimore, teaching in the poorest section.  Her teaching career ended with her marriage to Ray.  
They bought the house on East Main Street which would become known as the Gladhill Funeral Home as well as their family home.  At that time embalming was done in a room at the furniture store on Walnut Street. After they married Ray, the practical joker introduced Helen to embalming at the store.  He used his strongest embalming fluid with the plan that the terribly strong odor would driver her out of the room.  She was determined not to succumb first and instead, he did. The embalming and casket rooms were moved to the house on Main Street around 1947. Helen was his partner and in the business, answering the phone, styling hair, dressing bodies, meeting and greeting families, setting up funerals, reporting deaths to the papers and finally getting her own Funeral Director’s License in 1957. She was the heart of the business and was always read to listen to a grieving family.  Together she and Ray provided a free ambulance service. She took ambulance calls as well as washed sheets and remade the cot for the next trip. Many family meals were interrupted with an ambulance call. Eventually after the death of his brothers, she became a partner with Ray in the Gladhill Furniture Store.
Helen was a charter member of the Fire Company Auxillary. For a period of time, fire calls were diverted to the funeral home and she would answer the calls and set off the fire alarm. She worked at dinners for the firemen (Ray was Fire Chief for over 49 years) as well as the yearly carnivals. She taught Sunday School in the Primary Department of Zion Lutheran Church of which she was a life member.
Helen was an excellent seamstress.  She made patterns for dance costumes, having only a picture to bog y and then the finished costume her daughters’ dance recitals.  Over the years, when the grandchildren started coming, she made dolls of all sizes and clowns with colorful bodies. She crocheted doilies, purses, sweaters, baby blankets and king sized bed spreads for her family. She made beautiful afghans.  Helen was always looking for a new project to crochet or sew. Her arthritis made it difficult to crochet in later life but she continued to sew and began making beautiful tapestry bags.  After she lost Ray, she still continued to make her special bags out of material from the furniture store. She never wanted money for them but enjoyed making and giving them as gifts to anyone who wanted one. At 91 she made over 100 bags for Jim Nicholson at Gladhill’s to use as gifts and was extremely proud to have such a project, one she completed in record time.  She would say it was good to be useful. She was a voracious reader of all kinds of books. She loved feeding the birds and squirrels outside of her window. Her rose garden was a source of great pride to her.
Ray and Helen have two daughters, Phyllis Larue, (married to William M. Thompson) and Betty Ray, (married to Dr. Larry Romane). She was the loving grandmother to four grandchildren: Betty Ray’s children, Greg (wife Shannon) Beal and Gretchen (husband Pat Fuller), and Phyl’s children; Laura Jean (husband Thomas J. Junor) an Ann Marie (husband Michael Santorios). Eight great grandchildren followed:  Greg’s daughters, Kaylee and Brooke, and stepdaughters Lauren and Brooke, Gretchen’s sons, Benjamin, Arthur and Austin, Laura’s girls; Madeline and Evelyn and Ann Marie’s daughter, Fiona.  She was always an interested listener when they visited.  Helen also has many loving nieces and nephews in the Gladhill family.  She will be missed by them all.
Visitation will be Tuesday, April 24 from 7-9:00 pm at the Donald B. Thompson Funeral Home, Middletown. Funeral Services will be held from the Funeral Home on Wednesday, April 25 at 2:00 with Rev Cris Frigm will officiate. Interment will be made in Zion Lutheran Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the charity of one’s choice.
Pallbearers will be:  Tom Junor, Michael Santorios, Larry Romane, Arthur Greene, Pat Fuller and Greg Beal.
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Luisa Little
   Posted Tue April 24, 2012
I was sadden to see Helen passed away. Please know how sorry I am. I know Helen from the days when she & Ray were patients of the late Dr. Shapiro in Frederick, Md. They both were very nice people. I was Dr. Shapiro''s receptionist for 29 1/2 years. I remember Helen sewing tote bags and she would bring some to the ladies at our office. Ray would always have something funny to say.
With deepest sympathy to you and your family.

Gregory Beal, Sr.
   Posted Wed April 25, 2012
Helen was always gracious and more than hospitable to me. I remember her quick wit and sparkling eyes. She will be remembered very fondly by my family, and I am, and will be, eternally thankful for all her kindness and consideration extended to me and my family. What a wonderful life! Gregory J. Beal (Sr.)

Ray Adkins
   Posted Wed April 25, 2012
Sorry to her of Helens passing, my mother Naomi told me a story of here parents and family taking in my mother and sisters when their mother passed away at an early age. They were kind and giving to others.

Carol Butts Lewis
   Posted Thu May 10, 2012
It is Thurs May 10th and I was at a funeral today and I had someone there tell me about your moms passing. I was so surprised to here it know one told me and I live in Hagerstown and dont get the paper. I am so sorry I didnt come or even send a card at the time you most needed it. I dont have to tell you all how much she meant to me and our family. I could go on and on. Your father and mine were one of a kind. Middletown sure isnt the same without them. Funny, kind they were two peas in a pie for sure. My parents thought of your family as our family. Now their all together again without pain and suffering. I bet their doing alot of laughing together. I hope you know again how much I Loved them both. Ray, Helen and you girls were good to all of us and I know my parents would want me to Thank You all for all you've done. Again I am so sorry. With All My Love Bob and Carol Butts Lewis Hagerstown, Md

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