Gladys Anne Harrison, of Lexington, MA passed on September 3, 2013 from complications of Alzheimers. She had been residing at Wingate at Brighton for several years and she is now at peace. She was born on April 16, 1933 in Framingham, Massachusetts. She was pre-deceased by her parents, Benjamin and Gladys C. Harrison, her son, Robert Bonvini , and a brother. She leaves a granddaughter, several nieces and nephews, and many lifelong friends. She put herself through college and eventually graduated with a PhD. in Biology from Boston University at a time when that was not an expected path for a woman. Gladys never fit into any box; she made her own road and followed it. While she lived most of her life in the Greater Boston area, she spent a few years in Colorado in the late 1960s before spending several years in California in the early1970s where she worked for NASA and other laboratories. As a NASA research scientist, she was interviewed for Parade Magazine where she was quoted: Women should be considered for positions as potential astronauts. If they are qualified, they should be considered. She met all the qualifications for astronaut and really wanted to travel into space, but women wouldnt make that journey until many decades later. However, she did get to work with some of the moon rocks that came back from that historic journey in 1969. Eventually she made her way back to the East Coast, and settled in Lexington. She firmly believed that the sun should rise over the ocean, not set over the ocean, so she always felt more comfortable in Massachusetts. After settling in, she entered the PhD program of The New England College of Optometry. On graduation she opened a private practice in optometry in Bedford and practiced in her field until she retired in 2005. Gladys loved to travel, and visited every continent except Antarctica. She often traveled alone and some of her journeys were as research trips to Africa and South America. Her travels also included her love of Belly Dancing and she performed with her group of compatriots in the US and in Germany. She loved to sew and made most of her own costumes and accessories for her performances. She also made wonderful Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls for her nieces and other children. She also loved to paint and her home had many of her paintings of her favorite places and flowers. She enjoyed visiting with her family and spending time with her friends. She had friendships that lasted a lifetime and was always eager to meet new people. She was a scientist, an artist, and a friend. She will be missed. Memorial Donations may be sent to Massachusetts Lions Eye Research, P.O. Box 6050, New Bedford, MA, 02742. Check payable to: Mass Lions Eye Research (for: Gladys Harrison). Catherine Pfau, Boston University School of Medicine, Alzheimers Disease Center, 72 E. Concord St, B7800, Boston, MA 02118 (888-458-2823) Check payable to: Trustees of Boston University, Alzheimers Research Center (for: Gladys Harrison).
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Published in The Lexington Minuteman from Oct. 9 to Oct. 16, 2013