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Pause Growing Up by Bruce H. Zimmerman (ASCAP)
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“Rhonda, So sorry to hear about your mom, I loved seeing her smiling face at school!! ”
1 of 17 | Posted by: Tina Ferrari Leitz - OH

“So sorry to hear about Gloria's passing. Prayers to the family. ”
2 of 17 | Posted by: Geri and Gary Padhaisky - FL

“I am so sorry for your loss from another former student who will spend the daybremembering her smile and words from the offfice ”
3 of 17 | Posted by: Carrie DeLancey - MI - student

“We feel so bad we haven't seen Gloria in the last couple years, but we will never forget the good times we had with her & Vince in our many outings...Read More »
4 of 17 | Posted by: Mary Westen - Shelby Twp., MI

“Rhonda, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. You have a beautiful tribute to your mom. May God give you the strength through peace...Read More »
5 of 17 | Posted by: Lisa Johnson - Hazel Park, MI

“U will be dearly missed. ”
6 of 17 | Posted by: jen hintzmann - roseville, MI

“We can only dream of the celebration that Jesus has in store for us. Gloria is living it now and forever, and what a celebration it is. May God...Read More »
7 of 17 | Posted by: Phil Mularski - Clinton Twp, MI

“My heart broke when I heard about Glo. What a lovely woman. How blessed you are to be able to call her Mother. May your memories of great times get...Read More »
8 of 17 | Posted by: pam ouellette - maryville, TN

“so sorry to hear of glorias passing, I have so many fond memories of her and theresa in the office ..she was always caring and always made me laugh ....Read More »
9 of 17 | Posted by: Phil Hardrick - CO

“R.I.P. Mrs. Oleksiak you will be greatly missed and i have many good memories of my years at new haven high ”
10 of 17 | Posted by: thomas Coalts - yale, MI

“Well I remember her and Rhoda doing everything to make sure her daughter had a great spring break while I was off drinking. Lol. I was always jealous...Read More »
11 of 17 | Posted by: Lisa Antkiewicz - Bff

“Dear Vince and Rhonda, There are no words to express how very sorry I am over Gloria's passing, and I know that at this time there is probably...Read More »
12 of 17 | Posted by: Catherine Scheid - Troy, MI

“My deepest of sympathies, and prayers to your family. ”
13 of 17 | Posted by: Donna Lawler Phillips - Cairo, GA

“Rhonda, Sorry to hear about your Mom. ”
14 of 17 | Posted by: Tina Schroeder (Johnson)

“Mrs. O was a big part of our lives while in high school. She was always there for you when you needed her and she will greatly be missed by all of us...Read More »
15 of 17 | Posted by: Brenda Walls (Eastman) - MI

“So sorry for your loss. Your family is in our thoughts and prayers. ”
16 of 17 | Posted by: Jim & Heather Podolan - Layton, UT

“Sending prayers of comfort to the family. May the memories of a lifetime well spent comfort you at this difficult time. ”
17 of 17 | Posted by: Dee Dee (Phabian) Blizard


Gloria Jean Oleksiak wore many titles during her sixty-eight years on Earth. From "counselor" and "surrogate mother," to "best friend" and "listening ear," Gloria was as versatile as they came and with great ease became all things for all people. She was a regal lady with a presence that demanded respect, but with her personable and humble nature, she never believed her thoughtful ways and deeds were anything all that great or worthy of praise. However, we all know that this could not be further from the truth. She was our Gloria and we honor her and her legacy at this time.

Born the second child to Al and Helen Wisner (née Jamroz) on June 28, 1946, Gloria Jean was a typical young lady growing up in Detroit in the early nineteen-fifties. She excelled in her studies at St. David Catholic School and later graduated from Denby High School in 1964. After graduation, Gloria would hold down several jobs most notably as a clerk and seamstress at the Maryann Dress Shop and later as an insurance adjuster at a local insurance company.

Gloria's life would change forever when she met the love of her life, Vincent Oleksiak, at the wedding of a close friend. The two enjoyed each others company and Vince could not help but be taken with Gloria's "go-get it" attitude and endearing personality. After dating for some time, the two were wed in St. Margaret of Scotland Church in Saint Clair Shores on the spring day of April 28, 1968.

They made their first home in East Detroit and not long after, welcomed their first and only child, Rhonda Ann. Gloria was the ultimate Wife and Mother. She was an impeccable cook and a talented seamstress who, every once in a while, would play her old accordion to the listening pleasure of her family. Gloria took care to make sure her home was a lively and happy one and Rhonda and her friends were always welcome at "Mrs. O's" house.

To say Gloria lead an active life is an understatement. After a move was made to Lenox, Michigan, Gloria (a lifelong lover of animals) became interested in training and showing off dogs. For many years, Gloria, with Vince and their brood of trained sporting group dogs, would travel the country from coast to coast showing off their dogs in competitive dog shows.

However, Gloria will likely be best remembered as the most unique and special administrative secretary the New Haven School Systems has ever seen. After realizing she wanted to do more with her life, Gloria applied for a job with the school system and accepted the office position. It was soon noticed by Gloria that the young students who were sent to the office sometimes had serious personal issues that went far beyond their poor behavior in the classroom. And Gloria, with her nurturing and mothering ways and no-nonsense approach to life, took it upon herself to do for them what no one else would; listen. In no time, Gloria became a surrogate mother and strong rock to many young girls and boys who had no one to turn to. She was entrusted with years of secrets and stories and once they entered her ears, they were never repeated.

Gloria became active in many of New Haven's school functions and in 1989 was Rhonda's class adviser much to the appreciation of the entire class. Gloria could not have been more loved by her many friends, colleagues and the children that she adored.

Outside of work, Gloria loved traveling with her family and friends, was a Mary Kay Cosmetics saleslady, secretary of the Weimaraner Club Of Greater Detroit and a lifelong member of the Conger Bay Boat Club where she enjoyed the wonderful parties on the lake thrown by her large circle of friends. It was easy to become friends with Gloria, and she made lifelong bonds wherever she went.

As time would go on, Gloria would become a "Nana" twice over to her grandsons, Austin and Erik. For a while, Vince and Gloria lived in Florida where she may as well have home-schooled her grandsons. She was never happier than when she was spending time with them. Whether it was teaching them "the three r's" or spoiling them with clothes, shoes and food, she was a doting Nana and could not have been more proud of her boys.

After a three year battle against cancer, Gloria Jean Oleksiak's beautiful life came to a close on August 16, 2014 with her beloved Vince by her side. At the end of Gloria's time here, she perhaps did not realize just how many people's lives she had touched and believed she was only doing what God put her here to do. But that was our Gloria; humble, compassionate and caring for whomever. She did not seek glory or fame and simply knowing that the people she had helped were better off in the end was her greatest reward. She was magnificent lady through and through and we could not have asked for anything or anyone better.

She will be greatly missed.

Gloria is survived by her loving husband of forty-six eventful years, Vince; daughter, Rhonda Ann (Lucky) Foate; grandsons, Austin and Erik; sister, Marcie Varia; nephews, Dennis Varia, Mark Varia and many extended loved ones and dear friends.