Gladys Opal Benson Ward Sells was born on Sept. 19, 1920, at Raftville, Mo., to Clarence Edward “C.E.” Benson and Elsie Mae (Kimrey) Benson. She went home to be with her Lord on Dec. 31, 2019, at the age of 99, at Hickory Manor, Licking, Mo.
She was married to James Edward “Ed” Ward on Oct. 21, 1938, and to this union one daughter, Mary Edith, and one son, Lonnie, was born. She was later married William Clinton “Bill” Sells on June 23, 1978.
Gladys was preceded in death by her daughter, Mary Edith, her parents, and husbands, brothers, Wilmer Clarence “W.C.,” and Mack Benson, infant sisters, Ruby Gladys and Thelma Pauline.
She leaves behind her son, Lonnie (Reggia), Licking, grandchildren, Pam (Bob) Ogden, Springfield, Mo., Stacy (Mindy) Ward, Marthasville, Mo., Doug Ward, Republic, Mo., great-grandchildren, Scott Ogden, O’Fallon, Mo., Elisa (Yusif) Jaouni, Marysville, Ohio, Cassidy (Jared) Kilpack, St. Charles, Mo., Devon Ward and Carle Ward of Republic, Mo., sister, Virginia Ruth (Benson) Corder, Salem, Mo., and a host of relatives and friends.
Gladys grew up near Boiling Springs attending Ellsworth School and Church. She was saved and baptized at an early age. She loved school and could still quote the Preamble and a poem, “Life is like a mountain railroad” that she learned as a child.
She was a hard worker from her early years learning to cook and bake. She carried that on through the time that her body would not let her do it anymore. Even then, she was instructing. She worked many jobs throughout her career, an aide at Texas County Memorial Hospital, shoe assembly at International Shoe Co, owner/operator at Ward’s Café, Licking City Clerk, manager at Town & Country Dinner House, and inspector at Brown Shoe Co.
Gladys was active in her community, loved being involved local, state and national politics, and churches — New Life Free Will Baptist Church, and Cavaness/Faith and Hope Church. She was a longtime board member of the Cavaness Cemetery Board, Boiling Springs Improvement Association and many other boards. She was proud to have served on committees to establish the Nursing Home in Licking and Bridge Builders. She was an organizer of people and causes, champion of the underdog, competitive in card games, UNO and dominoes.
She was a great supporter of her family members ball teams, transporting her son and teammates, following grandchildren and great-grandchildren all over the state for games and extracurricular activities.
Gladys was a great cook and baker. Her fried chicken, pies, cobblers and cakes were favorites of her family and friends! She loved to paint, sew, embroidery, spend time with family and friends, watch her beloved St. Louis Cardinals, and talk on the phone. History and genealogy were very important to her. She also loved to travel the back roads with special friend, Carolyn Wulff
She was able to stay in her own home until age 97, due in large part with the efforts of her very special daughter-in-law, Reggia, and an angel of a family friend, Glenna Hiles.
Pallbearers are Stacy Ward, Doug Ward, Devon Ward, Bob Ogden, Scott Ogden and Kim “Ed” Corder. Services were held at New Life Free Will Baptist Church, Licking, Mo., at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 3, with visitation at 10 a.m. with Rev. Darius Wentz officiating. Interment was at Cavaness Cemetery, under the direction of Fox Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts in memory of Gladys Ward Sells may be made to Licking Bridge Builders, 114 Green St., Licking.
Online condolences may be left at www.foxfh.net.