Gladys Lorraine SPITZER
- Born: 9 December 1910, Ashley, McIntosh Co., North Dakota
- Marriage: Oliver Henry WHITNEY on 20 December 1930 in Britton, Marshall Co., South Dakota
- Died: 15 March 1981, El Cajon, San Diego Co., California at age 70 1
- Buried: March 1981, Alpine Cemetery, Alpine, California
Cause of her death was Cancer of the small intestine.
Social Security # 571-30-2386
When Gladys was a young girl, her father died from appendicitis. Not only was this devastating to a 9 year old girl, but it also left her mother with her, three sisters, and a brother to raise.
At this point we don't know too much about her childhood. She was strong willed and refused to do certain things, like attend the church services in high german, preferring instead to attend the english services. As a young woman, she was a voice student. She had a multi octave voice and was training as a soprano singer, but could also sing contralto. Although she stopped the lessons when she married, she continued to sing for her own pleasure and that of others for the rest of her life. Her style was the low, blues type of singing.
She went to college and trained to be a teacher, which she was as a young woman.
Her first son was a particularly difficult birth. As a result, the doctor told her that she should never have any more children, as it would probably kill her. But she wanted more children, so after waiting six years she had twin boys. The largest of the two had a hyalin membrane problem with the lungs and died one day after birth. The other weighed about two pound, but lived and grew strong. Three years later, her eldest son was hit by a drunken driver and killed. She never got over this loss and suffered greatly from it for the rest of her life.
Gladys traveled with her husband from one construction site to another. There are far too many stories to relate here, such as the time she was cooking for the construction crew in the cookshack when the kerosene stove blew up in her face and burned her waist length hair off. Luckily she didn't get even one scar from the incident. Many of the stories relate hardships, hard work and tough times, but somehow in the retelling, they became a great adventure of a young family working its way across the western United States in the late 1930's and 1940's.
Probably the best term to describe Gladys would be feisty. At 5ft 2in and 98 pounds, she would not back down from any man or woman. In spite of her outward strength, she was a generous and caring person. If a person became her friend, she was the best kind of a friend they could ever hope for. She would back them against all odds. But if that friend ever wronged her, she was unforgiving.
After she recovered from the automobile accident that took her husbands life, she remained in the San Diego, California area. As the pain in her abdomen, which had been diagnosed as gastritis, became more severe she was hospitalized. Exploratory surgery found cancer, but it had progressed too much for treatment. She succumbed to it after a short period of time. (Recollections of Ronald Whitney, her son)
Noted events in her life were:
• Social Security Number. 2 571-30-2386
Gladys married Oliver Henry WHITNEY, son of Oliver F. WHITNEY and Blanche L. HINKLEY, on 20 December 1930 in Britton, Marshall Co., South Dakota. (Oliver Henry WHITNEY was born on 23 July 1908 in Britton, Marshall Co., South Dakota,3 4 died on 29 October 1969 in El Cajon, San Diego Co., California 5 and was buried in 1969 in Alpine Cemetery, Alpine, California.) The cause of his death was Auto Crash.