October 31, 1942 — September 27, 2019
Gloria (“Glo”) Wilson died of cardiac arrest at Good Samaritan Hospital in Corvallis on September 27, 2019. She was 76 years old.
Glo was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 31, 1942. Her parents were Alexander Haig Tafralian and Alice Hogan Fitzgerald. She had an older sister, Patricia. Until the age of seven, Glo lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, among her Armenian relatives. After her family moved to Manchester, New Hampshire, they continued to attend family gatherings, where she learned Armenian cooking from her immigrant grandmother, who had survived the Armenian Genocide. This all left Glo with a strong and proud sense of her Armenian heritage.
Glo graduated from Central High School in Manchester in 1960, and moved to Berkeley, California, to live with her sister and brother-in-law. She attended Contra Costa College in San Pablo, California, and two years later transferred to the University of California at Berkeley, studying ancient history.
At CCC, she met Tom Wilson, who was also to attend Cal after CCC. After their first date, they were a couple for life.
Glo worked her way through college using work study programs and finding work during holiday breaks and during the summer. After graduating, Glo continued working at Cal. These were interesting times in Berkeley — the Free Speech Movement, People's Park protests, and anti-war demonstrations. Rather than go into detail about her experiences, it is sufficient to say that she knew and never forgot what it’s like to be tear gassed.
Tom was drafted in 1965, discharged in 1968, and after returning home, he and Glo lived together in Berkeley. In 1970, their son, Tom Haig Wilson, was born. On October 31, 1971, they married and immediately moved to Oregon. In 1972, they bought an old farmhouse on Tum Tum Creek in Blodgett. In 1973, their daughter, Siranoush Sue Wilson, was born, and their son, Aram Gabriel Tafralian Wilson, was born in 1974.
Glo became very active in the local community. She was president of the Blodgett-Summit Community Club for several years, initiating several successful fund raising activities, including editing two very successful cookbooks featuring recipes from local residents. She wrote the Blodgett and Summit community news for the Benton Bulletin. She was a 4-H cooking club leader. She actively supported candidates during school board elections, She served on the Citizens Advisory Committee for land use planning in the Blodgett-Summit area. Her front porch served as the center for the distribution of government surplus foods to needy families in western Benton County.
She introduced a new fundraising event for the Community Club — the potluck Dime-a-Dip Dinner and Pie Auction, which continues to this day and provides funds for three scholarships for students who have attended Blodgett School. Her Benton Bulletin articles started the campaign to save the old Summit church and move it to a new site to serve as the Summit Community Center.
She was an outspoken advocate of the principles of the First Amendment, and in 1988, she was given a Civil Liberties Commendation award by the American Civil Liberties Union for her successful effort to remove religious activities during high school graduation ceremonies.
Glo was one of the co-founders of the Benton County chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and served as its first president. She also served on the Governor's Commission on Violent Crimes. During this time she met many victims of drunk driving and other crimes, and her experience led her to a position as a victim’s advocate with the Benton County District Attorney’s Office. She eventually became Director of Victims Services. Subsequently, she worked for the Philomath Police Department for a few years and then retired.
Glo was a great Boston Red Sox fan, and live streamed every Boston Red Sox game on her laptop. Glo enjoyed trips with Tom and her grandchildren to casinos in Oregon and Nevada and trips to Boston with Tom to visit her relatives and attend a Red Sox game.
While raising her children, she enjoyed canning juices, fruits and pickles, winning several blue ribbons at the Benton County Fair. She warmly welcomed everyone into her home, and over the years, many of her children’s friends came and camped out on Tum Tum Creek and they all called her Mamaglo.
She spent her time in retirement helping her son Aram raise his children in her home.
She is survived by her husband, Tom; children, Tom H. Wilson, Siranoush Wilson and Aram Wilson; and grandchildren, Kapriel Wilson and Mara Wilson.
There will be a potluck celebration of her life at 3 p.m. on Saturday, November 2, at the Blodgett School.
Memorial donations may be made to the Blodgett-Summit Fire Dept QRT, P.O. Box 513, Blodgett, OR 97326.
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