Cover photo for Gloria Jean Anderson's Obituary
Gloria Jean Anderson Profile Photo
1944 Gloria 2024

Gloria Jean Anderson

February 23, 1944 — March 14, 2024

After a heroic battle with a rare MDS blood cancer, Gloria Jean (Farris) Anderson gently passed away on March 14, 2024, in Kaysville, UT at the age of 80.

A long-time resident of Grove, OK, she chose to move closer to family while receiving care at the Huntsman Cancer Center following her care at the University of Kansas Cancer Center. Born on February 23, 1944, in Shawnee, OK to Elmer Lee and Elsie Reta (Warren) Farris, she completed her K-12 education in Bethel, OK and earned her Bachelor of Science in Physical Education at Central State University in Edmond, OK. Putting herself through college, she attended Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma City University, and Ohio State before completing her degree at Central State. Upon graduation, she moved to Kansas City to teach physical education where she met her greatest love, William (“Bill”) A. Anderson, Jr., who was introduced to Mom when he was a speaker at a Women’s Chamber of Commerce event. They wed February 8, 1969, at the Muehlbach Hotel in Kansas City, MO, and lived in Lee’s Summit, MO and Westwood, KS before settling into their family home in Fairway, KS where they raised their two daughters and countless household dogs and rescued cats.

Gloria was industrious, creative, and had many talents to include master baker and short order cook. She coached her daughter’s pony league youth soccer teams and taught children’s cooking classes at Wolferman’s. She ran her own catering business known widely for her swan crème puffs swimming in chocolate sauce and holiday yule log cakes with handmade meringue mushrooms. Returning to her educator roots, she taught preschool at Ward Parkway Presbyterian Preschool for 8 years. Her greatest professional pride and joy was her job as the PE teacher at Muncie Elementary in Kansas City, KS. She adored instructing the K-6 children to include introducing the students to the wonders of the outdoors and continued to teach until her retirement in 2001.

Gloria lost her husband in 2001 and fearlessly continued on for 23 more years, bravely owning her widow status at the young age of 57. She creatively navigated two weddings, numerous baby showers and welcomed 5 grandchildren. She embraced her most cherished role of “Mimi” to her three grandsons and two granddaughters; a role she was born to do, and did so with a love and light that only a beloved grandmother can give.

She retired to Grand Lake, OK to be near her brother and the beautiful shores of Grand Lake ‘o the Cherokees. Before her cancer diagnosis, she also spent an incredible and exciting year as house mom to the women of Kappa Kappa Gamma, Delta Pi Chapter, University of Tulsa. Gloria loved the Oklahoma State Cowboys, antiquing, furniture restoration, decorating homes, and had such wonderful and fun taste. She loved the beach, the breathtaking Oklahoma sunsets, rolling prairies of Kansas, and country drives. We will miss hunting for treasures with her at Homegoods too. Gloria was a voracious reader and could watch hours and hours of the BBC Planet Earth shows, 90 Day Fiancé, and rarely missed CBS Sunday Morning.

Gloria was preceded in death by her father and Army veteran, Elmer Lee Farris; her proud Canadian mother, Elsie Reta (Warren) Farris; husband of 32 years and USMC veteran, Bill Anderson; her beloved sister-in-law, Dolores (Anderson) Waugh; and many treasured friends who have been patiently waiting for her in Heaven. She is survived by her oldest daughter, Heather Lee Anderson, of Prairie Village, KS and grandsons William Anderson (“Will), Ryan Lee, and granddaughter Finley Grace; youngest daughter Sarah “Teal” Williams and son-in-law Scott of Salt Lake City, UT and grandson Maxwell Anderson (“Max”) and granddaughter Addison Hayden “Addie”; her older brother Preston Farris of Grand Lake, OK; younger brother Bruce Farris of Norman, OK; adored goddaughter Cora (Farris) Davis and husband Dustin (Moore, OK) and great-nephews Remi and Hudson; many cousins, nieces, and nephews; and life-long friend Carolyn Takamura, and golden girl best friends Barbara Dandelles and Beth Bergkamp.

We want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the tremendous care of the Huntsman Cancer Center team, Hematology, Huntsman Center Acute Care Clinic, Whisper Cove Assisted Living care team and Atlas Home Health and Hospice Care providers along with the Lindquist Mortuary care providers, taking such delicate and respectful care of Mom in her final leg of this journey on earth. All along, Mom called the shots. Throughout her care, her treatments, and through her end of life. Mom was an independent, brave, and incredibly resilient and strong woman. The matriarch of our little family. 

Mom also made it clear she did not want a funeral. After losing her mother and our father, she hated to think of family and friends gathering and having to celebrate through tears along with the sad, although beautiful, funeral hymns. And also in part to when our father passed, his Celebration of Life managed to run a bit long as many had a lot to say, but it ran so long that the organist up and left the funeral before it was complete. Mom made it clear then, no funeral. A private graveside service will take place at a later date with her internment next to her husband in Kansas City at the Highland Cemetery, Prairie Village, KS. Mom wished that all might celebrate her in your own unique way, together, in whatever way you feel appropriate. We ask that you celebrate her fight, her love and her amazing life in your own unique way and consider donating your precious blood and platelets to help others so desperately in need of that lifeline.

There is nothing like your Mother. A Mother is like coming home. A comfort and peace known only through our Mothers. While our hearts are broken here on this Earth, we take solace in knowing Mom is safe and sound in her eternal home with many of her greatest loves who have patiently awaited her arrival.

Until the trumpet sounds again, Mom, rest well and keep an eye on us from your most amazing, beautiful view up in Heaven.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gloria Jean Anderson, please visit our flower store.


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