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Gladys J. Cembellin

February 3, 1925 December 18, 2009
Gladys J. Cembellin
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Obituary for Gladys J. Cembellin

Gladys Joan Cembellin February 2, 1925 – December 18, 2009 (84 years old) “Glo” was born in Dallas, Oregon, daughter to Western and Myrtle (DeHaven) Elliott. She is the youngest of seven children, and was the final surviving member of her original family. Gladys was raised on her family cherry and prune farm in Dallas, Oregon which was established by her grandfather, James Elliott in 1883 and is now the largest, and one of the oldest, prune farms in the state of Oregon. After graduating from Dallas High School in 1942, Glo entered Oregon State University in Corvallis and in 1946 she graduated with a bachelors of science in Physical Education, a minor in home economics, and earned her teaching credential. That same fall she accepted a fulltime teaching position at Hollister High School in Hollister, Cal. at the age of 21. Glo taught physical education and other courses and coached athletic teams there for over 27 years. During this time Gladys was also active with the Hollister City Recreation Department, and she was a board member of the San Benito County Recreation Department. During her first year at Hollister, Gladys met her husband to be, Frank, after he had just returned home to Hollister from serving as a platoon sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps during WWII. The much talked about “Connection” occurred when Frank asked his younger sister, Dorothy, who was in a volleyball P.E. class taught by Glo, to introduce them. Though it was awkward for her, Dorothy reluctantly agreed to her brothers’ request. After the introduction, Frank assisted Glo in taking down the volleyball nets. They were a perfect match. On August 14, 1949, Gladys married Frank Cembellin at the Methodist Church in Dallas, Oregon and Since Frank was Catholic, they then had to renew their vows at his church. This legendary bond had the strength like the Rock of Gibraltar and lasted for over 60 years. A life member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and of the Eastern Star association, Gladys’ family heritage runs deep in the history of the United States. One example is Gladys’ direct ancestor, Jacob DeHaven, who was a Pennsylvania merchant and land owner near Valley Forge, PA. He lent $450K in gold and supplies to the Continental Congress in 1777. These funds and supplies were crucial aid to George Washington and the Continental Army at a time when they were in desperate need. This example of service and patriotism was passed to her through generations of her family. A unique and special person, Glo was also a fitness advocate. She modeled it and encouraged it. She promoted healthy eating, exercised on a regular basis and endorsed lifetime fitness for all. Swimming was her fitness passion. Glo promoted the importance of family, family values, unity, support, independence and love. She had a strong work ethic deeply rooted in her farming upbringing. She wasn’t afraid to pick prunes, drive farm equipment, or milk a cow for breakfast cereal. She was a strict disciplinarian, and she taught her children to tow the line. But, at the same time, she was a strong supporter of her children. Gladys achieved the expert level in multitasking and didn’t believe in procrastination. She lived by the slogan, “Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today.” She had flair for fashion and an artist’s eye which was always displayed in her dress appearance and in the color schemes she used in designing the interiors of the homes her husband built. Gardening was her hobby, especially planting flowers. Glo was unselfish and generous almost to a fault, always doing for others. And everyone knows how she loved her coffee. Glo passed away peacefully at home in Brookings with her husband, Frank at her side. She is survived by Frank, and her four children, Mike Cembellin of Santa Clara, Leslie Burnside and Lori Kovacevich of Fresno, and Sandra Coons and her husband Bill of Brookings, Ore. Also surviving are grandchildren Kristin, Cody, and Quincy Coons; Nick and Matt Kovacevich; and Ben Burnside. Glo was preceded in death by her father and mother, her brothers Kenneth and Jim Elliott of Dallas, her sisters Winnifred Totten, Dorothy Kemp, Helen Hopper, and Florence Boydston. A Celebration of Life service was held for her at Redwood Memorial Chapel in Brookings and was followed by a reception held by her family at her and her husbands’ beachfront home.

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