Gloria Mitchell Altizer
September 4, 2020
Gloria Mitchell Altizer Moran of Roanoke, Virginia, died peacefully at home on Friday, September 4, 2020. She was 93 years old.
Gloria was born in Pocahontas, Virginia in 1926, the eldest daughter of Jarvey and Gladys Mitchell, and grew up in Glade Hill, Virginia. She moved to Roanoke in 1945, where she met her first husband, Vernal Darnell Altizer, and they were happily married for 44 years.
Drawing from her lifelong interest in art, history and beautiful things, Gloria opened Homeplace Antiques in 1973. The shop specialized in fine 18th and 19th century English and American furniture, Chinese and Japanese porcelain, fine rugs and lamps. Gloria successfully ran the business, first in Daleville, and then in Roanoke on Franklin Road for nearly three decades. Her exquisite taste and savvy earned her a loyal customer base and helped to furnish some of the region's most elegant homes.
Following the death of her first husband, Vernal, in 1990, Gloria later married local lawyer and former Commonwealth's Attorney Leroy Moran in 2002. They enjoyed sixteen years of travel, conversation, and a loving retirement together until his passing in 2018.
Gloria filled her life with beautiful things - flowers, antiques, art, and fashion. She traveled widely and made friends wherever she went. She was ambitious, brave, and famously suffered no fools, but she could be sublimely romantic and hugely loving. Gloria loved the opera and would refashion arias into lullabies for her grandchildren. She loved taking high tea in England, especially at a grand hotel. She loved walking on the beach and sitting by the ocean, at the edge of the tide, in a low chair with her toes in the sand. She was a great fan of birds, especially the big, exotic ones, and fish, especially flounder, which she prepared perfectly.
She liked to jitterbug and could impress on the dance floor. She loved tending to her splendid garden, hosting bridge parties, and wearing beautiful things. She adored her family, her husbands, her daughters, and her grandchildren, and looked after them with great fervor. She loved her life, up to the very end, and lived it with great style and elegance, a stubborn grace, and an indomitable spirit, rich with surprise, that sometimes bordered on the miraculous.
Gloria was preceded in death by her husbands, Vernal Altizer and Leroy Moran; her parents, Jarvey and Gladys Mitchell; her brothers, Alfred, Lax and Jarvey Mitchell Jr.; her brother, Earl Sturgill; and her loving sister, Joy Wiseman.
Gloria is survived by her two daughters, Karen Altizer Tessier of Asheville, North Carolina and her husband, Chuck, and Teresa Altizer Nowak of Roanoke, Virginia, and her husband, Jim; grandchildren, Alison Fields of Carrboro, North Carolina, Sara Fields Bridges of Asheville, North Carolina, and her husband, Nathan, Michelle Tessier of Salt Lake City, Utah, and her husband, Tyler Bench, and Benjamin Nowak of Richmond, Virginia, and his fiancée, Kate Hergenroeder. She is also survived by Stuart Moran (Maralyn), Madison Moran, Lynn Gravett (Billy), and Deborah Cockerham (Steve); grandchildren, Jesse Moran (Amanda), Jeremy Moran (Nichole), Jasen Moran (Sara), Jennie Tatro (Jason), Sam Gravett (fiancée, Amanda), Jake Gravett (Ciara), Emma Gravett (fiancé, Bridges), Ethan Cockerham (Reva), and Lelia Cockerham; and five great-grandchildren.
They family would like to send heartfelt thanks to an amazing team of women who took extra special care of Gloria and brought her peace and comfort in her last days, including Misty Fagg, Angela Richards, Barbara York, Joyce Melendez, Elisabeth York, and Nikki Ford.
Graveside Memorial Services will be conducted at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 8, 2020, at Sherwood Memorial Park in Salem, Va.
As a tribute to Gloria, the family requests memorial donations should be sent to Opera Roanoke at Center on Church, 20 Church Ave., SE, Roanoke, VA 24011. Online condolences may be shared with the family by visiting www.oakeys.com