EIKRE email@example.com_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2006-06-15 published
LOWERY/LOWREY/LOWRIE/LOWRY, Gladys Caroline
By Keith LOWERY/LOWREY/LOWRIE/LOWRY and Rob LOWERY/LOWREY/LOWRIE/LOWRY, Page A20
Wife, grandmother, certified grapho-analyst. Born on November 28, 1915, in Penzance, Saskatchewan. Died on December 23 in Toronto, of Alzheimer's disease, aged 90.
Like a Norse hero, Gladys overcame adversity throughout her life with will, wit and courage. Her determination to survive difficult times and to share the warmth of her kitchen and weave it all into a compelling story became hallmarks of her life.
The early years were not easy for Gladys, the surviving child of Norwegian immigrants Arne and Borghilde (BERTHA) EIKRE. Widowed early, Bertha moved in 1923 from Saskatchewan to Toronto, where she took jobs in several households. Bertha's diamond ring went in and out of hock to balance the razor-thin cash flows.
When the founder of Regal Stationery visited Toronto's Eastern Commerce school to recruit a secretary, 16-year-old Gladys was eager to be his first employee; a full-time job in 1932 was more valuable than waiting for graduation. Within months, she assumed all the administrative duties and soon supervised other employees. Today, she would have been on the fast track to senior management but times were different then.
In 1934, Gladys accepted a blind date with "the most handsome man I had ever seen." William James LOWERY/LOWREY/LOWRIE/LOWRY was a farm boy from Rodney, Ontario, recently let go from Ontario Hydro because scarce Depression-era jobs were reserved for married men with dependants. Two years later, she married Bill and they moved to the family farm, a challenging transition for a Toronto girl. But she earned acceptance and respect from Bill's mother. The couple later settled in Saint Thomas, Ontario, when Bill found employment with the post office (and later became postmaster).
Throughout the Second World War, their Regent Street home was never locked, so that young pilots and aircrew training at nearby airfields could come and go as they needed. Many returned in the '50s and '60s to thank Aunt Gladys and Father William.
Although their first child, Carol, died as an infant, Gladys found strength, and raised sons Keith and Robert. She also found time to lead the girls' club at the church and coach baseball. On special occasions, Gladys would pen several lines of doggerel tailored to a person, gift or date.
Through home study, both Gladys and Bill became grapho-analysts, able to diagnose character and personality traits from handwriting. Gladys gave presentations to community groups and at international conferences. Her skills served local employers selecting staff, lawyers working with clients, and police investigating crimes. She also analyzed notes from girlfriends, teachers and supervisors to provide her sons with clandestine insight into the characters of these people.
After Bill retired, they rediscovered square dancing, and travelled to jamborees across Canada. They were good neighbours to everyone, proud of their sons' academic, career and family achievements, and adored their four grandchildren -- but they never met their two great-grandchildren.
Bill's first heart attack in 1978 was followed by several more, draining his strength and confidence. Gladys was always there to care for her love with never a shortage of conversation. After Dad died in 1991, we discovered that Mom's dementia had been masked by daily routine. Moving her out of our family home was very emotional, and soon led to retirement homes in Toronto.
After 14 years apart, Mom and Dad were back together for Christmas and their 70th wedding anniversary. Undoubtedly, they had lots to talk about.
Keith and Rob are Gladys's sons.
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