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Relay for life Redford Team Gabbys
Life Story / Obituary
Glenna Gildersleeve was a fun-loving woman who enriched her life in so many ways, but what made these experiences so extraordinary was sharing them with the ones she loved. She spent 63 years alongside the love of her life, and together they witnessed their family grow to include children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who blessed her life beyond measure. Glenna was a woman who was very passionate about the things she believed in, and she wasn’t afraid to stand up for these passions whenever she could. She loved traveling, but nothing was better in Glenna’s book than getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. Although she will be deeply missed, she leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her loved ones will forever treasure.
The 1920s were a highly prosperous time in America, but the 1930s were drastically different as the entire decade was cloaked in the hardship of the Great Depression. Jobs were scarce, the unemployment rate soared, and countless American families felt the strain. Despite the challenges around them, George and Glennia Bayhan were able to shift their focus to a joyous time in their lives as they welcomed a healthy baby girl into their hearts and home on January 8, 1936, in Detroit, Michigan. The youngest of five children in her family, Glenna was raised in the family home on the lower East side alongside her siblings, Donald, Jean, Harold, and Harry.
For the most part, Glenna was a young girl of her generation. Life in the Bayhan family was always a bustle of activity, and her brothers were forever playing practical jokes on her. Glenna’s father worked at an auto parts factory called Vickers while her mother had more than enough to keep her busy at home. As a student at local schools, Glenna was an excellent student who won a dictionary when she took first place in a spelling bee in junior high. She always loved to read, and she also worked as a fountain clerk at Sanders. As a high school student, Glenna was very social and outing and took part in various school clubs.
Not to be forgotten during her years in high school was Glenna’s blossoming romance with the young man who would forever hold the key to her heart. His name was Robert Gildersleeve, and they were introduced by friends. With the desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Glenna and Robert were married at a minister’s house in South Carolina when she was just a young girl of 16, deeply in love. This marked the beginning of a new chapter in a love story that would span 63 years. Glenna attended school through the 11th grade, but she later went on to earn her GED, finishing first in her class at a Dale Carnegie course.
Not only did Glenna love being a wife, but she was also filled with unspeakable joy to become the mother of six children including her sons, John, Thomas, Gregory, Richard, and Michael, and her daughter, Vickie. From the moment she became a mother, Glenna fully immersed herself in the role and her family was always first and foremost. She was there to support her children in all they did including as all of her five sons played hockey. Glenna loved the sport, never missing any of their games, and she never shied away from clanging her cowbells from the stands. Christmas was always a special time of the year, especially as her family grew, and she loved having an excuse to spoil her family rotten. There were always huge Christmas gatherings complete with Santa delivering presents. It wasn’t just the holiday that Glenna loved as she also got so caught up in all the pre-holiday activities like decorating, putting up her village, and baking more than enough cookies to go around.
In addition to caring for her family, Glenna kept busy in other ways as well. She owned and operated a local Dairy Queen for six years. Glenna later worked for Hudson’s, and after a time she settled into the cosmetics department there. She loved this job and was so delighted to meet Elizabeth Taylor and Joan Collins when they introduced new cologne. Glenna loved traveling, and over the years she went to Hawaii, Cozumel, the Panama Canal, and the Virgin Islands among many more places. Because she loved live theater, she traveled to New York and Toronto to see various plays.
Throughout her life, Glenna was very social and outgoing. She was a member of the Red Hat Society, and she was president of the Redford Suburban League for two years. Glenna was part of the Prairie Dogs Motorhome Camping Group, and her family and friends knew never to call Glenna at 7:00 p.m. since she was a Wheel of Fortune fanatic who wouldn’t answer the phone anyway. She even once tried out for the show. With her love for hockey, Glenna was an avid Red Wings fan, and she was a solid Democrat who strongly believed in unions. While working at Hudson’s, she worked so hard to unionize the store that they called her Norma Rae. When Glenna and her husband celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, it was a day to remember as they had an anniversary party with all their family and friends. This was such a special celebration to them both as it was the wedding they never had. Glenna was an animal lover who found such companionship in their dog, Bill, and a number of cats.
A gracious, kindhearted, and loving woman, Glenna Gildersleeve was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She was never one to worry about the little things, and she equally embraced both the peaks and the valleys along her life’s journey. Glenna devoted her life to caring for her family, and she treasured her roles as a grandmother and great-grandmother. Dearly loved, she will never be forgotten.
Glenna Gildersleeve died on March 5, 2016. Glenna’s family includes her husband, Robert; children, Vickie (Robert) Mock, Gregory, Richard, and Michael (Cindy); six grandchildren, Kevin, Jeffery, Jason, Stephanie, Erika, and Ashley; nine great-grandchildren, Jenna, Nautia, Roman, Haley, Colton, Reese, Chloe Rose. Glenna was preceded in death by her sons, John and Thomas, and her granddaughter, Danyel. Visitation will be held on Wednesday, 3-8 p.m. with a funeral service at 5 p.m. at Neely-Turowski Funeral Home, 30200 Five Mile (Between Middlebelt and Merriman). In Lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Relay for Life Redford Team Gabbys http://main.acsevents.org/got/gabbysontheriver. You may share a memory, upload photos and sign the guest book at www.TurowskiLifeStory.com.