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Gloria Widder

Gloria C. Widder (Beck)

Monday, January 23rd, 1928 - Monday, June 15th, 2020
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Obituary

GLORIA BECK WIDDER
Gloria Widder, 92, of Akron entered eternal rest at the Maple Farm Nursing home on Monday, June 15, 2020. She died of natural causes. She was the wife of Franklin Z. Widder III for 70 years this September. Born January 23, 1928, in Akron, PA, she was the daughter of the late Floyd Beck and Luella (Roether) Beck.

Her first love was her husband and her family, hands down. With her cubs and papa bear around, she was happiest. She made her house a home, welcoming everyone. Twenty-seven Fairview Drive was the fun, go-to place for her kids’ friends and when the time came was full of snuggles and song for her grandchildren.

She was a fierce competitor. She showed no mercy when it came to table-top games, not even to her family. When playing horseshoes and quoits in her heyday of youth, she knocked many players from scoring a ringer and was spritely proud of it especially when the players were men. Twice a week she packed her bowling shoes and ball in the family’s Rambler to head to “The Dutch” to bowl in two different women’s leagues. She often brought home year-end trophies. Sometimes when asked how she bowled on what she knew to be a below average score, she would politely answer, “Lousy, thank you.” That poignant truth crept into the family’s vernacular.

Her first job was a switchboard operator for Denver and Ephrata Telephone Company. Callers needed assistance from operators like Gloria to make a call and later “ring off” the completed call. To clarify a five from a nine, she was trained to pronounce the number nine with two syllables. Number “ni-en” she would say, and never lost the habit that later in life her kids found humorously atypical.

As a progressive woman in her early twenties, Gloria worked for Lancaster County’s industrial icon, Armstrong Cork Company, in the payroll department. Fashioned in a high waisted dress, seamed nylons and peep-toe heels, coiffed in a page-boy, she frequently took the trolley from Akron to Lancaster.

Having a natural talent as a self-taught singer and entertainer, Gloria began singing live on the radio with her sister, Pearl. Eventually, her cheery personality coupled with her Doris Day look, her sense of humor and passion for performing led her to shine as a lead vocalist in various bands under the pseudonym Gloria Charmaine. Her flair and the talent of many musicians took them to gigs in Lancaster, York, Harrisburg and Philadelphia. In the early 50’s prior to the television era, Gloria was the main attraction for an Armstrong radio program broadcast through WGAL featuring a 15-piece band. It was here she met her soon-to-be husband, Frankie, the percussionist. A few years into their marriage, they formed their own, sought-after band playing closer-to-home gigs for dances, night clubs, country clubs, and wedding receptions. They were known for their original recording, “Vunderful Goot” whose lyrics told the story of a Pennsylvania Dutch couples’ courtship and their eventual schmooch. She exited her singing career serenading guests with Mack the Knife, Sentimental Journey and many other classic tunes at the cutting-edge, hill-top venue, the Foodergong.

In her retirement, Gloria and Frank explored the United States and Canada in their camper. For many weeks over the summer, they rented a site at the Jersey Shore, their annual vacation spot since their honeymoon. Year after year in Wildwood Crest, they created many more fond memories for family and friends cracking crabs, clamming, and boating on the Frankie Clipper. The van ride to the beach reverberated with robust sing-alongs and seat-back drummers - of course. Perched under her umbrella, there you would find her shelling a brown paper bag full of peanuts tossing some to share with the seagulls. Her forever companion, Frankie, would reach for her hand and the two of them would take their stroll toward the surf pausing to gaze at the horizon, that curious place where the earth meets the sky.

In her final week, the Covid pandemic restricted visitation except through an open window. Her son wrote this poem:

“Waiting for Us to Arrive“

I watched her through the window, As she whimpered for each breath. Little did I know…. In two hours she’d meet death

We saw the darkness coming, She knew her time was near. And now His light is shinning, She no longer has to fear

I worry about my father, He tried his hardest and his best, To keep my mother comfortable, Till it was her time to rest

I miss my mother deeply, It’s not sadness I feel inside, For I know she’s in His presence, Waiting for us to arrive

Gloria is survived by a son, Franklin Z. Widder, IV, husband of Dody Hart of Ephrata, PA and a daughter, Camille Horine, wife of Conrad “Stan” Horine of Lancaster, PA; five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by a sister, Pearl Granger and a daughter, Kozette Rushton of Novato, CA.

Family and friends are invited to share in a celebration of life on Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 10:00 AM at the Mt. Zion Evangelical Cemetery, 15 N. 11th Street, Akron, PA 17522.

Arrangements by Stradling Funeral Homes, Inc., Ephrata.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Saturday, July 11th, 2020 | 10:00am
    When
    Saturday, July 11th, 2020 10:00am
    Location
    Mt. Zion Evangelical Cemetery
    Address
    Address not given
    Akron, PA
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Notes
    ***Masks are preferred*** Friends are invite to join family for a luncheon following the service at Roland Park
  • Interment

    Location
    Mt. Zion Evangelical Cemetery
    Address
    Address not given
    Akron, PA
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email

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LF

Love, The Kahl Family

Posted at 11:54am
Peace, Prayers & Blessings from our Family to yours. Many wonderful and fun memories during the past 58 years as neighbors & friends.

3 trees were planted in the memory of Gloria Widder

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BR

Bernice Martin Ruff

Posted at 10:35am
FRANKIE and family, Please accept my sincere condolences for the loss of Gloria. I have such fond memories of your family dating back to 1952/53. I was one of those little kids in the accordion band that Frankie formed. We practiced at the old Rec center. There were about 25 of us in that band. And then in the late 50's and early 60's I was the babysitter who would put you kids to bed and spend the night when your parents were out doing their shows. Perhaps you were too little to remember those days. I left in 60 for school,ended up going to mission work in Puerto Rico, getting married and moving to VA. So I never got to see you as distance was a problem. I did stop to see Frankie and Gloria occasionally when I was home. Since I am not in the area I usually got my information from my Mother (who I lost 2/14/20 suddenly at the age of 98-just short of her 99th birthday) or from the Review which I get late. So even thou my regards are late I want you all to know how important you and Gloria were in my early years. Words cannot do much to ease your pain now but please know that I am praying for strength and faith for you all. May all the good memories of your Wife and Mother and Grandmother be a big help in this transition, Love to you all.
AW

Alyssa Wojcik

Posted at 03:40pm
To Frankie, Franklin, Camille, Stan and the entire Widder family: I'm sending this note for the memorial to you all and say what a wonderful time we all had together. I'll miss Gloria a lot, keep you in my prayers. Would love to be able to get to the cemetery, but under the conditions it is impossible. Love, Cheryl
 
AW

Alyssa Wojcik Posted at 03:41pm

Please note that this message is from Cheryl - I am her friend and helped her send this note.
 
AW

Alyssa Wojcik Posted at 03:41pm

Please note that this message is from Cheryl - I am her friend and helped her send this note.
 

Camille Widder Horine Posted at 09:24pm

As in Plumber?
KH

Kerry Hyman

Posted at 08:32pm
Lorraine (my mother), and I would like to send our condolences, and our most sincere sympathy and love to the Widder family to let you know that we are thinking of you during this time. We've been separated by years, but we have always held the fondest thoughts and memories of Gloria, her husband, Frank, and their beautiful, warm, (in Frankie Jr.'s case- humorous; Frankie, we've shared hundreds of laughs together growing up...) and kind children. We send our best regards, and hope you know that the fond memories live on!!!
Kerry Hyman
D

Denise

Posted at 08:31am
Thank you for the fond memories of the Widder household. I was one of the neighborhood kids that was always made welcome!
Denise Campbell
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