Gladys Vail, 95, Vero Beach

Gladys Vail, 95, of Indian River Estates in Vero Beach, Florida, died Dec. 4, 2010.

On Oct. 11, she celebrated her 95th birthday joyously, surrounded by her grandchildren, who had traveled cross-country to be with her on her special day.

She took no greater pleasure than being in the company of her family, hearing their stories, looking at photographs of their activities, and enjoying a good party – especially if it included Moose Tracks ice cream.

She was born Gladys Marguerite Conner on Oct. 11, 1915, in Trenton, New Jersey.

In 1937, Vail graduated from Wilson College, in Chambersburg, Pa.

Shortly thereafter she met Jerry Vail of Orient, a young executive with the U.S. Steel Corporation.

They married in 1939 and together made a life and many friends as they moved from Trenton to Worcester, Mass., (where daughter Pat was born in 1941), to Cleveland, Ohio (where son David was born in 1943), to Duluth, Minn., back to Cleveland (where son John was born in 1948) and finally to Pittsburgh, Pa.

She loved to entertain people in her home and was at the center of a wide network of friends in Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

She was an active member of the First Baptist Church of Cleveland and a long- time volunteer at South Side Hospital in Pittsburgh.

In 1989 Gladys and Jerry left Pittsburgh for Vero Beach and the Indian River Estates (IRE) Continuing Care Community.

After Jerry died in 1991, Gladys lived independently for almost 15 years.

As one of the first people to move into IRE-West, she became a vital part of that community and welcomed many new residents to the Estates, developing a wide circle of friends.

In 2005, while keeping residents’ morale up with an impromptu party during a hurricane, she fell and broke her hip.

Upon recovery she transferred to IRE’s dependent-care facility and, a year later, into its medical wing. Gladys’s high spirits, her easygoing nature, and the twinkle in her eye made her a favorite of the staff and other residents.

Survivors include her daughter, Pat Vail, of Jacksonville; and sons David Vail (June), of Brunswick, Maine and John Vail (Ellyn) of Worton, Md.

They and Gladys’s grandchildren and their spouses, Nate, Norm, Patty, Ben, Renata, Elizabeth, Nick, Juliana and Peter, will miss her terribly. Gladys was especially proud of – and always charmed by photographs of – her great- granddaughters, Elika and Emma.

The family suggests that donations in Gladys’s name be made to Wilson College, Chambersburg, PA 17201-1285.

A guestbook is available at

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