Gladys Zemen died at the age of 94 on December 11, 2018 in Canton, OH, where she was recently residing with her daughter. Gladys Wakefield was born on August 30, 1924, in Harlan, KY, to Albert Zevonzo Wakefield and the former Bessie Mae Tillery. Gladys and her four siblings were raised in the Harlan County, KY, coal-camp communities of Benham and Mary Helen (Coalgood), where their father worked as a coalminer. After graduating from Harlan’s Hall High School, Gladys moved to New Orleans, LA, and worked as an Executive Secretary during the WWII years. In the late 1940’s she moved to Girard, OH, to care for her parents. She met her future husband at a dance at the Avon Oaks Ballroom, and married William (Bill) R. Zemen on June 19, 1954. They resided in Mineral Ridge, OH, and raised three children. Gladys taught her children to love the arts, history, and reading by exposing them to museums, concerts, historic sites, and libraries from an early age. Gladys was the best “Homeroom Mom” at school and she learned to drive to shuttle her children to Scouts, sports, and church; she was a longtime member of the Mineral Ridge Church of Christ. Gladys was proud of her Southern (North Carolina and Tennessee) heritage and researched her family tree extensively as a member of the Trumbull County Genealogical Society, Warren, OH.
Gladys was preceded in death by her parents, husband, and siblings, Lester E. Wakefield, Paul A. Wakefield, Pauline A. Hopkins, and Edna L. O’Neill. She is survived by daughter Allison G. Zemen-Davis (Canton, OH), son Dale A. Zemen (Mineral Ridge, OH), daughter Elaine C. Arick & son-in-law Gregory S. Arick (Randolph, OH). She is also survived by granddaughter Laura E. Davis (Michael Stone), step-grandsons Benjamin S. (Tiffany) Arick and Christopher M. Arick, three great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. Although separated in age by 90 years, “Gigi” had a special bond with great-grandson Callum M. Stone, age 4, and will be sorely missed.
A private cremation has taken place. Gladys complained for over sixty years about “flat Ohio,” and so her ashes will be returned at a future date for an interment and memorial service within view of her beloved Kentucky mountains. Condolences can be shared with her family online at www.heritagecremationsociety.com.
Heritage Cremation Society