Goodbye my dear friend Gloria

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My heart was heavy when I was told we had lost Gloria D’Amico after her valiant fight against cancer. After her diagnosis, she boldly predicted she was going to be the one in the small percentage of people who survive the melanoma she had. I believed it too, because no one was more powerful than glorious Gloria. If anyone was going to beat the disease, it was going to be her. But unfortunately, she succumbed on Tuesday, December 21, surrounded by those she loved and loved her.
We had become fast friends over 15 years ago, first as part of the “WOW” Women, a group that gathered monthly to share each others’ lives. But the relationship grew beyond that. Through my life’s adventures I could always call Gloria for advice and she never minced words. I could count on her to give compassionate but honest advice that only a true friend dared to share.
Her life was devoted to her sons, Lenny and Louis; daughters-in-law, Wendy and Cathy (who she felt were more like daughters to her); and her beloved grand and great grandchildren. She also gave tirelessly to her community volunteering for decades at the Taminent Club, and her work as Queens County Clerk. She was the first woman to hold this position in the history of the borough. Her innovations, such as “going digital,” made her unique in her role and in our great city.
Although Gloria was as strong and loyal a friend you could have, she also had a “girlie” side. She and I were great fans of the designer St. John because of the knit fabrics, which looked good from morning to night – a need in her tireless world that ran late as she attended charitable, political or business events. She always wore coordinating jewelry that made her look like a fashion model. I can picture her now in her white knit suit with turquoise and gold earrings and matching necklace, ring and bracelet – my kind of woman!
No Christmas will be same without her dazzling party. No one was a finer cook, preparing a feast of endless dishes of holiday delicacies – from scratch – that I can taste to this day.
The power of Gloria will be repeated over the next days as we all recall her many kindnesses to so many groups in the community. She was particularly effective in the work she did to benefit the Variety Boys & Girls Club in Astoria. Her presence on their board and support seemed tireless. The annual Gloria D’Amico Fun/Run Walk became a happening in the community and raised thousands of dollars for them.
I think the real proof of her impact was the devotion her children showed her during her lifetime, and her final illness. They adored her as much as she did them. During her final months they were at her side day and night. She was never alone; they lapped up their love for each other and made sure her every want and need was met. No mother could wish for more devoted children. They are perhaps her everlasting legacy.
My love for her came from my enormous respect and appreciation for all she accomplished – as a mother, a professionals, an activist and a woman. No one could ask for a finer friend and role model. I felt privileged to walk in her presence.
Dear Gloria, you were one of a kind. I will miss you desperately. May you rest peacefully in God’s hands.