Gloria Jean Odekirk, "68 plus I owe you one," of Cedar Rapids, joined her Lord on June 12, 2018, after struggling with health issues and an aggressive onset of COPD. Stewart Baxter Funeral & Memorial Services is taking good care of her in preparation for a celebration of life to be held at Palo Community Center, 2800 Hollenbeck Rd., Palo, on Saturday, June 23, 2018, between 1 and 5 p.m. Casual attire requested. Prayers and kind thoughts are greatly appreciated. Family graveside service at a later date.
Gloria is survived by her husband of 40 years, Kent Gordon Odekirk; their eight children, Donald D. Craig (Jessica) of Victor, Iowa, Samantha F. (DeeDee) Evens of Los Angeles, James P. Craig of Media, Pa., Michelle D. (Brad) Owens of Central City, Mary J. (Francisco) Barrera of Cedar Rapids, Kurtis G. Odekirk of Palo, Katrina A. (Todd) Roalson of Mesa, Ariz., and Robert K. Odekirk of Cedar Rapids; 17 grandchildren, Kelsey Kay Jean Craig, Brandon Zeadow, James Craig, Kyleigha "KK" and Cory Levine, Taylor Evens, Rylee, Blair and Evah Owens, Jessica Robertson, Derrick Steger, Marcela Billmeyer, Jacob and Alfonso Barrera, Shelby Miller, Kandace Odekirk and Allie Rose (Kyle Goldberg) Dake; three great-grandchildren, Anthony and Vanessa Billmeyer, Aryia (Rosie) Barrera and baby boy Miller on the way; and siblings, Steve Andrews, Carole Stickley, Cathy Jo Monroe, Johnny Berge and Scott Middleton.
Gloria was born June 4, 1949, in Cedar Rapids and grew up taking care of herself and others. It is with this love she carried throughout life, always wrapping her arms around others, taking care to be sure they had what they needed, at all times. She was a selfless person who put others' happiness first. A good cook, grocery store trips were always delightful, especially with tacos on the menu and her famous potato salad. She was a pistol with energy, spirit and stubborn resolve. She spoke her mind and showed us the importance of an Iowan's work ethic to achieve your goals. Once Gloria set her mind to something, you could consider it done, from finding her beautiful daughter after years of searching, to making a perfect quilt for Kent.
Gloria graduated from Jefferson High School in Cedar Rapids in 1966. Upon graduation, Gloria was anxious to begin her career and started as a cosmetologist. She worked hard to provide for her family and transitioned her career to Farmstead Foods. She later joined a car dealership in Center Point, which offered her transportation when the kids were young; she was their successful finance manager. She won numerous awards and achieved top salesperson of the month by selling 37 cars, more than anyone had sold at the time. When she was offered an opportunity to buy into a business, she took the risk and headed to Fountain Hills, Ariz., to open a bar and restaurant with Kent. Gloria always excelled in meeting business demands while balancing a household of active children. She simply "figured it out."
Her favorite saying to those she treasured, especially her children and grandchildren, was "Love you to the Moon & Back." Her love never waned, even throughout trials and tribulations. Grit, determination and tenacity were traits unmatched to any who knew her. Her favorite places were Walmart, the post office, the casino and anywhere she could sing karaoke.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Joyce and Scotty Middleton; father, Donald Andrews; sister, Trish Andrews; brother, Gary Andrews; beloved great-grandson, Zane Zeadow; and very dear friends who Mom took in and cared for during their last years of life, which include Cindy K, Maybelle and Jim and Joan Wilcox.
In her love to help others, we would request all memorials be directed to Shriners Hospital for Children in memory of her father, or Compassus Hospice & Palliative Care.
"Love you to the Moon & Back. See you in Heaven!"
Please share your support and memories with Gloria's family on her tribute wall at www.stewartbaxter.com under obituaries.