In Memoriam: Gloria Ross (Bledsoe) Goodman (September 20, 1930- January 12, 2022)

January 2022 Posted in Obituary

Gloria Goodman of Silverton passed away January 12, 2022, of natural causes at the age of 91. She had quite a career. Born in Luling, Texas and raised there and in San Antonio, she was the daughter of Hugh and Ina (Jones) Clark. Her teen years were spent living with her grandparents, Arthur and Ina Langston in San Antonio because the military life with her mother and Stepfather, Col. Dixon Jones, in the cool northwest (Washington) was not to her teen liking.

In 1947, her mother had a San Antonio dress shop, “Frocks by Ina”. A handsome Marine came in to take one of the salespeople out. Later, a friend introduced Gloria to a blind date – the handsome Marine, William Bledsoe. They did the Texas Two-Step in the famed honkytonks of Texas and knew every Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys song by heart (“San Antonio Rose” was naturally their favorite). They married in 1948, and had three children, Linda, in 1950, Bill Jr. in 1951, and Dixon in 1952. Bill turned into a world-class guitarist and played for many family dinners and parties.

They spent several years in the San Jose, California area, where Bill Sr. was the only non-degreed engineer for Lockheed. His travels took him away for months at a time, so Gloria managed a house with three young kids quite well. A move to Oregon was in the cards, as they wanted to get the kids out of the “rat race.” Bill wanted them exposed to Oregon’s beauty, since he had resided in Klamath Falls while recovering from malaria after seeing fierce fighting in World War Two on Guadalcanal.

When they drove through Silverton in 1962, Gloria told Bill, “You have moved us so many times. Now I decide. This is where we will make our home’. And they did, for years, raising the three kids on a small farm outside of town, with horses to break, stalls to clean, berries to pick, and chickens to feed. Of course, their first year had to be colorful – the well went dry a month after moving in, and the Columbus Day storm hit just a few months later. Their friend, Orville Roth, had opened his first store and offered to drive them safely home with groceries in tow.

Gloria worked as an aide at then-Silverton Union High School but started pursuing a dream of writing. Her first “Novel,” “The Mystery of China Hat Ranch” was a hit with her three kids and husband, even though it was thin in plot and inspired by a small hat-shaped mountain outside of Bend as they drove north from California. Gloria had a couple of articles published in magazines but became a “stringer” for the Silverton Appeal-Tribune in 1966. She was hired by her great friend, Shelley Burrell (Lewelling), the Capital Life Editor for the Capital Journal in Salem as an assistant in 1969. She took over for her friend as Editor in 1974 and specialized in the Women’s Section, Society Page, Dining Reviews, and Special Features. Her best memories were interviewing Charles Schultz of “Peanuts” fame, as the legendary cartoonist granted her an interview in Oregon and felt he short-changed her time. He offered a ride on his private jet to his home in Santa Barbara, where she stayed with Schultz and his wife for a weekend, completed the interview, and enjoyed the burden of driving his new Butterscotch Mercedes convertible around town shopping while he conducted other interviews. Gloria had two whirlwind trips to New York City with her friends, Burrell (then Lewelling), Norma Paulus (Secretary of State receiving a Ladies’ Home journal Award) and celebrated with their great friend and Oregon icon Gerry Frank, who ironically wrote a best-selling guide to NYC that they followed meticulously.

Gloria was a gifted writer, and as Capital Life/Society editor, laughed when explaining that even people who were not fond of her invited her to all the great parties in Oregon’s capital city as a sure ticket to end up favorably in her column. Her writing accomplishments for the Capital Journal, especially her column and dining reviews, were extremely popular, and it was an evening of epicurean delights and laughter when friends were invited in on the restaurant review experience.

She wrote two humorous self-help books in the early 1990’s, and each had modest success here in the U.S. and abroad. “Keys to Living with A Retired Husband” was on the perils of surviving when your husband is suddenly underfoot every day, and the other was on dating later in life as a grandmother. She called the latter, “A Grandmother’s Guide to Dating”, but the publisher changed it to “A Woman’s Guide to Prime-Time Dating: For the Woman Who Wasn’t Born Yesterday”. It caught Oprah’s attention, and the producer called asking her to be a guest in the Spring. Gloria was ecstatic, because Oprah reviews were instant best-sellers. The show subsequently called and said they were going in a different direction. The Phil Donahue show called and wanted to hear from her by 5 PM on a Friday night because the icon’s Monday morning guest cancelled. She called at 7 p.m. Friday from Texas, where she was researching her third novel. Too late – they booked someone else. CNN called in 1991 and wanted her to talk about her book on their morning show. Two days before she was to appear, the Gulf War started, and Gloria Bledsoe Goodman was no match for the Scud Stud.

She and Bill Sr. divorced in 1985, and in 1986 she married Marv Goodman, a handsome man with a full head of “gorgeous white hair most men would kill for”, according to Gloria. Marv was at Pearl Harbor with the Willamette football team on Dec. 6, 1941. The next day the team was guarding the hospital with weapons. He was inducted into the Willamette University’s Sports Hall of Fame. They enjoyed beach trips, entertaining many friends, Marv fishing with family and their plethora of kids, grandkids, and great grandkids.

When Marv passed away in 2004, Gloria had a burning desire to return to her girlhood home, San Antonio, Texas, and moved in 2006. She enjoyed connecting with high school friends, joining in the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (then caretakers of the Alamo). It made sense, because her aunt, Ursula Veramende, married Jim Bowie of Alamo and Bowie Knife fame, and her grandfather was Jose Antonio Navarro, a Tejano patriot and a man dubbed “The Grandfather of the Texas Revolution”. He served as Governor of Texas and was the only Tejano signing the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico. Her daughter, Linda, joined her, and wrote several plays about the Alamo, called “Voices”, and the reviews were well-received. She and the kids had a wonderful time at the Navarro Statue Dedication near the Mercado in San Antonio, surrounded by more than two hundred Navarro descendants.

Gloria was preceded in death by her first husband, Bill Bledsoe, second husband Marv Goodman, her mother and Stepfather, Ina and Col. Dixon Jones. She is survived by her daughter Linda Ross, sons Bill Bledsoe (Kathy), and Dixon Bledsoe (Lisa), and stepchildren Jan Goodman, Jon Goodman (Jackie), Kristie Smith (Mike), Jeff Goodman (Amy), Dan Goodman (Sue), twelve grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren.

Arrangements are with Crown Memorial of Salem. Burial will be in a family cemetery outside of San Antonio near Rossville (Hurley’s Funeral Home of Pleasanton, Texas). Due to Covid concerns, a Celebration of Life for this remarkable woman will be held when safe to do so.

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