On Tuesday, December 17, 2019, a little over a year and a half after being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, Gloria Kaye Friedley passed away peacefully at home in McKinleyville, with her family by her side. She was 77 years young. Gloria was born in Crescent City on March 24, 1942 to Clifford Earl and Gladys Mae Anderson. She was the youngest and only daughter of four children. She had three brothers, Clifford Earl Anderson Jr., Leonard Ray Anderson, and James Dale Anderson. She was the loving mother of three sons, Randy Ray Friedley, Clifford James Friedley, and Jason Alan Friedley.
Growing up in Eureka, Gloria attended Jefferson Elementary School, Eureka Jr. High School, and was part of the Eureka High School Class of 1960. In her pre-teen years, Gloria had fond memories of hanging out at the Duck Pond at Sequoia Park in Eureka with her best friends Bonnie Byrd and Hellen Bell. They were very close and made a lot of great memories together. Gloria was an independent, young woman and was excited to move out of her parent’s home at the age of 15. She always worked hard and was able to support herself. She had her first son, Randy, at age 21. She was a working, single mom, and she was very proud to never need a man to support her. Gloria moved to San Francisco where she met her future husband, Aaron Friedley. They married in 1966 and shortly after returned to Gloria’s hometown of Rio Dell to be closer to family. Gloria and Aaron expanded their family over the next few years with two more children, Clifford and Jason. After moving to Eureka for a few years, Gloria decided to relocate the family to McKinleyville. She was very pleased about this because it was important to her to raise her children in the country. Although Gloria lived most of her life in Humboldt County, she and Aaron did spend three years in Willits, where Gloria truly enjoyed the hot summers and a new best friend, Barbara Lee.
In addition to Bonnie, Helen, and Barbara, Gloria had many special friends over the years. Some of her longest and strongest friendships were with Lois Coombs-Webb, Nadene Mendes, Vicky Webb, Geri (her special smoking buddy) & Ross Larson, Patricia, Cynthia, and Bonnie. Gloria and her friends were always on the go…attending Jazzercise, Curves, and the Arcata Pool for some exercise or going to Art’s Alive, Concerts, and the Theater, as well as out to brunch to share some good conversation.
Gloria had a strong connection to her community. She was proud to have protested the Vietnam War in marches and rallies whenever she could, and she was instrumental in starting the first Eureka Farmer’s Market. Gloria ran for Eureka City Council in 1973-74 and was very involved with the Boy’s Club and the Lion’s Club. Throughout her life she worked at several Stanton’s restaurants including Union Town, Humboldt Coffee Shop, and Deb’s to name a few. Gloria later owned and operated CJ’s Cafe and Gloria’s Donut Shop in McKinleyville for a number of years. Her signature dishes were Biscuits & Gravy and Swedish Pancakes, surefire hits for any event. After retirement from restaurant work, Gloria successfully started and ran Kare-A-Van Transport, a non-emergency medical transport business, for 13 years. Gloria “loved every minute” of her new career. She had many regular clients, all of whom she considered her friends. After retiring from Kare-A-Van, she became a volunteer driver for Area 1 on Aging. This, too, she enjoyed very much.
Gloria enjoyed Trident gum and loved a good rummage sale. She was a tough and hard worker her whole life. She never spent any money on herself, and she always helped others first. Gloria was opinionated to the very end. She was often called bossy and bitchy, but you always knew where she was coming from. Tough and hard was the act, soft and easy was her soul. Gloria loved being a Mom and a Granny, and this was by far the most important thing to her. She was very proud of both her children and grandchildren. Her grandkids were a highlight of her life. Gloria was a lifelong Unitarian Fellowship member. She loved babies of any species. Gloria was always up for new adventures. She tagged along on family trips with her sons going snow skiing for the first time ever in her late 50s. One summer she even went to the Redding Water Park, where she successfully lost one of her toddler grandsons. She went parasailing once in New Jersey. Twice she went ocean fishing, and twice she fell overboard. Gloria was delighted to be able to go to Disneyland with her young grandsons in her late 60s and then on another bucket list trip to the Grand Canyon with her grown grandsons at age 76. Gloria was also proud of her Scottish Heritage and left-handedness. She enjoyed demonstrating that left-handedness with a certain hand signal used in combination with her road rage on occasion. She also loved a good glass of wine or a nice margarita, preferably while sunbathing. Gloria enjoyed full retirement for seven years, during which time she spent several months each winter in Barra de Navidad, Mexico with her beloved dog, Rey. Altogether she visited Barra for 17 consecutive years, where she built a second family with Michelle, Dora, Rueben, Vincent, Candy, Abraham, Ishmael, Ricardo, Pablo, Genesis, Christian, Hernan and family, Martin, Silvia, Jonny, Johanna, Angel, and Linda.
Gloria was preceded in death by her mother, father, and three brothers, as well as her husband, Aaron, and niece and nephew, Tish and Josh. Gloria is survived by her three sons, Randy, Clifford, and Jason, daughters-in-law, Sally and Angela, and grandchildren, Aaron, Chris, Seth, Ben, and Alyssa, as well as nephews John and Todd.
The family would like to extend a special thanks to Redwood Memorial Hospital, especially the nurses in the Med-Surg Wing who treated Gloria like their own Granny during her short stay with them before returning home. We would also like to thank all of the people who supported Gloria at the St. Joseph Oncology Unit, as well as the Open Door Clinic in McKinleyville, and Hospice of Humboldt. There are many more people who should be mentioned as friends that Gloria loved and cared for that we failed to name, and many more thank you’s that should be said to the people that loved her. We apologize to anyone we may have left out, please know that Gloria cherished your friendship. A celebration of Gloria’s life will be held to honor Gloria and her legacy at the Unitarian Fellowship when the sun is brighter and the days are longer with a date to be announced at a later time.
The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Gloria Friedley’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Gloria Kaye Friedley- Betham, please visit our floral store.