GLADYS MARGARET NELSON aged 83 yrs., of Mount Uniacke, passed away on January 2, 2018 in the Hants Community Hospital in Windsor. Born on May 27, 1934, in Vanderhoof, B.C., she was the daughter of the late Ivan and Mary (Lais) Wilkes, both of Saskatchewan.
Gladys grew up in Dundurn, Saskatchewan. She enjoyed dancing and also curling and playing baseball. She moved to Toronto to attend Helen’s Beauty School and it was at that time that that Gladys met her husband, Garry at a dance. They got married in 1958 and had their first while living in St. Hubert, Quebec, where her husband was stationed in the Air Force. They were then transferred to Greenwood, NS and built their first house in Kingston, NS. Gladys spent 10 years there and did hairdressing out of her home. After having her four children, they then transferred to Summerside, PEI, where again she did hair in her house. She also continued with her love of baseball at that time and played for many years as a pitcher. After her husband Garry left the Air Force, the family moved to Dartmouth and, for the next few years for the first time, she worked outside the home at Gina’s in Bedford. The second and final house to build was in Mount Uniacke. There she operated Gladdies House of Hair Fashion for forty years until she retired at age 80. She served tea and coffee and baked goods to her customers and many customers became close friends. She was very community minded and could be counted on to donate her famous pies or butter tarts or date squares and often would take time to do someone’s hair if they couldn’t get to her. If a funeral or a wedding or trip came up and it was her day off, she was happy to accommodate someone in need. She loved to take road trips and often drove out west to visit her family members. Her husband jokingly used to tell her if she got tired of doing hair she could get a job driving an eighteen-wheeler. She also enjoyed Bingo and took shorter road trips on the bus to Fredericton for a weekend of relaxing and playing Bingo, winning some and losing more but having a great time regardless. She spent the latter part of her life looking after her husband, Garry, who suffered from dementia, determined to keep him home and not in a nursing home which she did until his passing in 2013. It took a toll on her but she never thought about not doing it. She would take him in town with her and as she was always loyal to one place, knew many faces at the grocery store and the bank, and enjoyed the time visiting while she was doing her errands. Her errand day was Wednesdays and for many years indulged in her love of Chinese food with various friends and family members. On her 80th birthday, she was surprized by an open house and enjoyed seeing many customers and friends throughout the years. Her hairdressing continued to be a big part of her life. She was an examiner for many years and travelled throughout the schools in Nova Scotia and was a recipient of, not one but two, Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Cosmetology Association of Nova Scotia. She enjoyed time with her long- time friends and visits from her sisters and brothers from the western provinces. She loved life and participated in it fully. Her and her husband met at a dance and she loved it. They glided across the floor, perfectly in sync and enjoying the movement and the music. One of her proudest moments was purchasing a Kubota tractor for her husband to replace one he had from his father. Unfortunately, by the time she had saved for it, his dementia had progressed and he was unable to operate. So, all ninety pounds of her got all dressed up warm and jumped on this big tractor to plow the snow. She was drinking blueberry juice at this time, wanting to get the health benefits she believed it would give her. She drank her juice daily and we called it her ‘tonic’ and nicknamed her Granny Clampett; drinking her tonic and then jumping on her Kubota to plow the snow. Only one time did she have to get pulled out of the ditch by a kind man passing by and offering assistance. She could handle that tractor and got better and better until it became too much for her and when her granddaughter and her husband moved in to the main house, she willingly gave the plowing over to him. As her health declined, sadly she didn’t get out very much but did enjoy company coming in and also attending the Uniacke Baptist Church as part of their congregation. She read a number of bibles and knew her religion and loved to attend the church services with her close, friend Nina. She lived in her renovated hair salon with her granddaughter, Kara, and her family living in the main house. Two of her granddaughters she called her ‘little nurses’. They gave her so much joy, and they loved helping out their Nanny by bringing in laundry, making her coffee, putting in her eye drops and so many other little ways. As her health declined, her outings got fewer and she faced many challenges over the past few years that were a real testament to her strength. She was so admired and will be missed by many.
Left with fond memories are her daughters, Joanne Zinck (Michael) of Mount Uniacke, Teresa of Mount Uniacke, and sons, Glenn of Rawdon and Vernon (Cheryl) of Dartmouth, grandchildren Kara (Adam) Kerr, Lindsay (Kelvin) Kachikwu, Angela Zinck, Clinton Zinck, Terra Nelson, Nickelle Nelson, Shayne Nelson, Joey Young, Candice States, Jasmine States and Jayden States, Katie, Thomas and Kelsey, great-grandchildren Micaela, Zachary, Sierra, Destiny, Marshall, Josh, Kobi, Jada, Candice, Marcus, Kelsey, and a number of great and great-great-grandchildren not in close proximity.
Remaining of her family of origin in the western provinces are her sisters June and Tootsie and brother Dennis and numerous nieces and nephews, having said goodbye previously to her parents, sisters Leola and Bertha and brothers Floyd and Leonard. Gladys was an incredibly strong woman who loved life and despite the physical challenges that she endured, managed to fulfill her wish to not enter a nursing home.
She went to the hospital on December 10th and in the same room where she said goodbye to her husband Garry of over 50 years, her body gave up the struggle and in the presence of her daughter, Joanne, took her last breath and joined her husband. The compassion and support given to Gladys and her family during her time in the hospital was very much appreciated. Also thanks to Pat and Paul Wile for daily visits while she was in the hospital, her friend Nina for attending church with her and the many other friends that loved and cared and supported her throughout the years.
In keeping with Gladys’ wishes, a memorial service will be held on January 13, 2018 at 1:00 pm in the Uniacke Baptist Church with Pastor Dave Cumby officiating. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to any chosen charity. Arrangements have been entrusted to Serenity Funeral Home, Wolfville Funeral Chapel, 568 Main Street Wolfville (902-542-4656).