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Gladys Mitchell Coulter
Gladys Mitchell Coulter was born in Independence California on March 12, 1926.
She passed peacefully on Nov. 23 surrounded by those she loved.
Gladys was born in Independence to James Bernard and Bertha Ellen Mitchell.
Gladys had a wonderful life growing up in the Owens Valley, raised in a warm and loving home where everyone felt welcome; her nick name was “Happy.” She learned to hunt and fish with her brothers and was always up for the challenge to try something fun and exciting. Just three weeks ago she was riding in her grandson’s Razor to her youngest grandson’s birthday party.
Gladys married Ewell Kelley in 1947 and divorced in 1951; they had one son George. In her early years she drove a bus for the workers at the Manzanar Concentration Camp. When she turned the bus over it ended her bus driving career. She was a waitress in the valley during the time all the movies were being filmed in the Alabama Hills. She had fond memories of the movie stars that would come into the restaurant, and John Wayne was one of her favorites. The movie studio paid to use her car in the “Longest Trailer,” featuring Lucille Ball.
Gladys married LeRoy Coulter from Big Pine in 1951 and added two daughters to their family. Life was about teaching her children to excel at what they loved and supporting them along the way. She didn’t care if it was building car engines, horseback riding, band, guitar lessons or girl scouts, she was always there to lend a helping hand. Her motto was, “If you keep them busy enough it will keep them out of trouble.” After LeRoy passed away in 1980 she continued to live in Independence in the family home. She loved when family and friends would come for a visit … just like the home when she was growing up, filled with love. A special memory for the grandsons was the yearly trip up to grandmas in the summer, filled with 4-wheel driving, swimming, exploring and, “What happens at grandma’s stays at grandma’s.” Gladys loved crafts and looked forward each year to the United Methodist Church Bazaar. It was a challenge finding new ideas and working with her friends to see how much they could earn for the Church.
Gladys was preceded in death by her husband, LeRoy; sister, Hetty Stevenson; and brothers, Hank and Jim Mitchell.
Survivors include son, George (Pam) Kelley from Big Pine; daughter, Gwen (Danny) Mairs from Keene; daughter, Dawn (Steve) Baumgarten from Bakersfield; grandsons, Jimmy Kelley of Oregon, Rick (Gina) Ellis of Bishop, Mathew Mairs of Keene, Christopher Aseltine of Torrance and Jeremy (Elizabeth) Mairs of Keene; grandaughter, Cori Harris of Texas; and great-grandchildren, Trent, Garrett, Andrea, Erika, Olivia, Ryan and Thomas.
Her family and friends are saddened by her passing but are at peace knowing that she is resting with our Lord in Heaven, reunited with those she loves. Gladys treated everyone she met with a kindness that made them feel special, and she will be missed by all who were blessed to have her in their lives.
A heartfelt thank you to Dr. William Bezdeck and family and The Hallmark at Bakersfield for their exceptional care and compassion for the last seven years.
During her final weeks the Opitmal Health Care Staff were a true Blessing.
Please join us in celebrating her memory and honoring her life at a memorial service to be held on Friday Dec. 2 at 4 p.m. at Greenlawn Mortuary on River Boulevard in Bakersfield. A reception will follow at Log Cabin Florist, 800 19th St. in Bakersfield.
A graveside service will be held at noon Saturday in Independence with a luncheon following at Pioneer Memorial Church.
Gladys would be pleased if you remembered her with a random act of kindness.