A life of service begins with a single step. For each person that step is at a different place and time, but it is the beginning of a rewarding life in service of others.
Gladys Maxine Wilson was born on March 21, 1923 in Faulkton, S.D., to Ed and Mabel Sime – salt of the earth farmers. She loved school from an early age and eagerly looked forward to her time in the one-room school house. To attend high school she had to board in town and only see her family on weekends, but it was a small sacrifice for this eager student. Post-high school she spent 2 years at Miltonville Wesleyan and then transferred to Indiana Wesleyan where she received a BA in religion.
It was during her time in college that she met Beverly Frank Wilson. Although she was sure this was the right match, she had to wait for Bev to finish his Army assignment before they could wed. Then she settled into a life of service as a minister’s wife. Their first assignment was in a very small country church in one of the poorest parts of Kentucky. The assignment was a challenging one for the newlyweds, but they made a great team. This was followed by 8 years in Canandaigua, New York, 8 years at the Wesley Methodist Church in Mitchell, South Dakota and 9 year at the Lincoln Oaks Wesleyan Methodist Church in Fair Oaks, California. Each assignment came with its own unique challenges. The move to California was especially difficult for the mid-west farm girl, but she trusted that the Lord was taking her where she would best serve.
The last move Bev and Gladys made was to Arrow Highway Wesleyan Methodist Church in Azusa, California. It was during this time that Bev developed cancer and passed away in his mid-fifties. What followed was a time of turmoil for Gladys as her commitment to service was part of her husband’s ministry. She faced not only the loss of a spouse, but the loss of her identity. A door at Azusa Pacific University opened working in the office, but over time she began to develop the Heart to Heart Ministry which became her passion. For the last 20 years she focused on this program exclusively. The program filled her need to help others and was a blessing for those who participated – a match made in heaven.
After 30 years at Azusa Pacific, Gladys Maxine Wilson passed away 1 month before her 86th birthday. She worked up until the day before her stroke with the full support of the University. The students, mentors and staff she dealt with were her second family. She is survived by many family members: sister Lucille, brothers Wes and Arv; children Ron, Marilyn and Wes and her cherished grandchildren Aaron, Danielle, Evan, Breanna, Nathan, Lauren, Melissa and Johnathan. We will all dearly miss her.
Rest in Peace.
Gladys Maxine Wilson
1923 – 2009