Gladys Lorraine Downs, age 85, of Overland Park, KS (formerly of Boonville) passed away peacefully on October 15, 2013. A memorial mass will be held on Saturday, October 19, at 12 p.m. at Curè of Ars, 9401 Mission Rd., Leawood, Kansas.
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She is survived by her five daughters: Lana Arbogast of St. Louis, Stephanie Ellis and her husband, Scott, of Columbia, Denise Wood of Leawood, Kansas, Karen Gibbons and her husband, Robert, of Kansas City, Missouri, and Angela Berry of Fallbrook, California, ten grandchildren (5 boys, 5 girls) and nine great grandchildren (all boys). She was preceded in death by her daughter, Cynthia Diane.
Gladys was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1928 and spent much of her life in Flat River, Missouri, graduating from Esther Senior High School in 1946. In 1950, she moved to Boonville and raised all five of her children in homes on Pawnee Ln., Mohawk Dr. and High St. After graduating from cosmetology school, she worked at Helen Tyree's shop, eventually opening a salon in her home. She was a beautician for many years and formed life-long friendships with her clients. The Downs girls were reminded of the film "Steel Magnolias" when visiting Gladys' Hair Hut for their free haircuts and product.
Her proudest achievement was her family. She loved babies and small children, teenagers not so much. A perfect day included spending time surrounded by her girls and grandkids. Known as Grandma G to her grandchildren, she delighted the young ones with imaginative stories about the Easter Bunny who lived in a hole in her backyard.
Gladys had a creative side that she expressed through fashion, interior design and the arts. She loved to collect treasures from her travels in Europe and the U.S. She developed a special interest for equestrian while accompanying her granddaughter, Laura, to the stables. She was passionate about classic Hollywood movies and firmly believed they "just don't make them like they used to." John Wayne was her hero, and Shirley Temple her idol.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the National Parkinson's Foundation.
Published in Boonville Daily News from Oct. 17 to Oct. 25, 2013