Mary “Viola” Gladding


Mrs. Mary “Viola” Gladding, 104, wife of late James Franklin Gladding and a resident of Parksley, formerly of Oak Hall, passed away following an extended wonderful life, on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021.

Viola was born May 12, 1916, at home in Hopeton, where she was raised on the family farm. Viola would often share her not so fond accounts of picking flats of strawberries or scratching potatoes before walking to school uphill, both ways, in snow and rain. She was a woman of faith and the most family-oriented women around. She worked a long career and retired as a secretary for Kellam Distributing Company. She was a member of Downing’s United Methodist Church, where she served in the United Methodist Women. When she moved to Parksley in 1985, she also became a member of the Woodberry United Methodist Church, continuing to serve with the UMW. She had a great love for both churches. While church took priority on Sunday morning, family Sunday dinner took priority Sunday afternoon. For many years she single-handedly cooked a full feast on Sundays, where the entire family gathered. Family was especially important to her, and she was the foundation.

Viola was strong and independent. She was stubborn, so stubborn in fact that she lived on her own until she was 100 years old. Then, in an attempt to keep herself young, she moved in with her great-granddaughter and two of her great-great-grandchildren. It was her granddaughter’s wish that she be surrounded by family and allow herself to relax a little while she was looked after, as she had spent many years looking after everyone else. She had an extreme love for all her family. She had a family full of girls for many years, as her son blessed her with two granddaughters, who turned around and blessed her with four great-granddaughters. The determined woman she was allowed her to live around to see three great-great-grandchildren, two of which were finally boys. Her legacy of love lasted throughout the generations, and she truly was an angel on earth.

Viola was preceded in death by her husband, James Gladding; her parents, Bessie and Dorsey Core; brothers, Woodrow Core and his wife, Virginia, and Quinten Core; and her son, Donald Gladding. She leaves behind her granddaughters, Alisa Bishop and her husband, David, of Oak Hall, and Donna Phillips and her husband, Parks, of Parksley; great-granddaughters, Jessica Bonniwell and her husband, Jeremy, Alysen Bozman, Shelby Bishop, and Karrie Phillips; and great-great-grandchildren, Paityn and Leland Bozman, and McKoy Bonniwell.

A private funeral service was held at the Williams-Parksley Funeral Home Monday, Febr. 22, 2021, with the Rev. Albert Crockett officiating, and interment in the Downing’s Cemetery.

Memory tributes may be shared with the family at

Arrangements were by the Williams-Parksley Funeral Home.
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