Gladys (Hill) Jackson, born Selena Hill was born on November 13, 1923 in Wilmington, NC, the daughter of John Hill and Mary Ellerby-Hill.
Orphaned at a young age and enduring a difficult childhood, Gladys spent several years living in Catholic orphanages eventually receiving her high school diploma from the Pennsylvania African American School for Girls. At a young age, Gladys made the decision to dedicate her life to the Lord and joined the Oblate Sisters of Providence in 1940. While still a novice Gladys felt that life was pulling her in a different direction, and she made the difficult decision to leave the convent and relocate to Philadelphia to live with her brother and sister-in-law John and Kathleen Hill. Blessed with a beautiful and cultured voice from her many years of Catholic schooling Gladys became one of the first Black telephone operators for the former Bell Telephone Company in Philadelphia.
While living and working in Philadelphia, Gladys met her future husband, Leon Jackson, a young Air Force Airman on leave from his station in Europe. After a whirlwind romance and Leon's reassignment from Europe, they exchanged their marital vows at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Georgia on December 25, 1952. Leon and Gladys moved from Valdosta, Georgia to Eglin Air Force Base, Florida to Maryland and eventually settling in Dover, Delaware following Leon's retirement from the Air Force.
Gladys had a burning desire for higher education and made the decision to return to school once her children were old enough to have a degree of self-sufficiency. Gladys enrolled in Delaware State University and in 1973 received her Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood education; she later returned to school and received her Master's Degree from the University of Delaware. She spent several years teaching early childhood and special education eventually retiring from the Caesar Rodney School District. She was immensely proud of her career and enjoyed the many students who would visit her years after her retirement. Gladys had a love of travel and during her lifetime she was able to visit Canada, Spain and Germany.
Gladys was a long-time member Holy Cross Catholic Church in Dover, DE; she was blessed with a beautiful soprano voice and for many years she enjoyed singing in various Holy Cross choirs. Until her health declined, she was a dedicated member of Holy Cross and rarely missed a service or an event.
Gladys leaves to cherish her memory 7 children: Leona Mulhern (Neil), Brenda Sudler, James Jackson, Michael Jackson, Thunderwolf (Yolanda), Martin Jackson, and Kathleen Jackson; 12 grandchildren Tracey Williams, Marie Ingram, Tiffany Jackson, April Wailes, Brandy George, Kyra Johnson, Paul Jackson, Monica Jackson-Kois, Martin Jackson, Jr., Eric Perez, Tiamarie Valenzuela, Martina Jackson and a host of grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.
Gladys was proceeded in death by her husband of 62 years, Leon Jackson, her grandson Christopher Jackson, and her siblings Cora Hill, Eugene Hill, John Hill and Jimmy Hill.
Viewing will be held 9am-10:30am, Thursday, July 2, 2020, in Pippin Funeral Home, Inc., 119 West Camden-Wyoming Ave., Wyoming, DE; followed by an 11am Mass of Christian Burial at the Church of the Holy Cross, 631 S. State St., Dover ; both adhering to the current Covid-19 restrictions. Burial will be Private at the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Millsboro, DE. Condolences may be sent via: www.pippinfuneralhome.com.
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