Gloria Joyce (Wittwer) Stresky passed away peacefully at her home on November 27, 2020. She was 96.
Gloria was born May 5, 1924, to Swiss parents, Gottlieb and Minnae (Minnie), in Monticello, Wisconsin. Orphaned as young girls, she and her sister, Charlene, were raised on a family farm outside Madison.
After graduating from Albany High School in 1942, she attended the Groves-Barnhart Secretarial School in Madison, from which she was assigned a coveted position as assistant to the director of the War Production Board in Washington D.C. until the end of World War II. Prior to moving to D.C., she met James Werner Stresky (Jim) — who was stationed at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station near Chicago — at a Methodist dance for soldiers. That brief meeting spawned letter-writing throughout the war while he served as Radioman First Class aboard the USS Shea in the Pacific Theater.
While in D.C., Gloria worked on the top-secret Manhattan Project, a title for which was commonly known but not for its ultimate purpose. She managed paper files, many of which had connections to Los Alamos, New Mexico, that were passed from person-to-person to maintain security protocol, then tucked inside a large vault, the combination to which was written in the back of Gloria’s stenotype book.
After the end of the war, Gloria worked at the State Department until the birth of her daughter, Patricia, in 1947. Her proud legacy from her war efforts created profound, heartfelt memories and patriotism that lasted for the rest of her life.
Gloria and Jim married on January 31, 1946, and lived in D.C. until the fall of 1951, when fate changed the course of their lives. Hearing about a rare opportunity for a court reporter in Wyoming, Jim flew to Sheridan, interviewed with the judges (who’d never seen a stenotype before), then immediately flew back to D.C. to tell Gloria he’d been hired on the spot. Pregnant with Mary Jo, who’d be born the following March, she asked, “Where’s Wyoming?” while frantically packing for their new adventures. Over the years, Jim and Gloria often recalled arriving atop Jim Creek Hill at sunset, in awe of the stunning panorama of the valley that was now their home.
In 1956, they purchased their home on Bighorn Avenue, where she resided until her death. Their son, Steve, was born in 1957. In addition to tending to the needs of her family, she utilized her superior typing skills on a manual typewriter to produce multiple carbon paper copies of courtroom transcripts for Jim.
Shortly upon arriving in Sheridan, Gloria and Jim joined the First Presbyterian Church, which became a solid foundation for their lives and spirituality. Gloria taught Sunday school at the old gothic church on South Main, then at the “new” church on Colonial Drive. She also served on the Session, the financial committee, the Woman’s Circle, and as an elder. Decades of her family singing in the choir, the children wearing angel wings in Christmas pageants, listening to the pipe organ melodies resonating throughout the church, greeting folks at the door to church service, and serving post-service coffee and cookies are just a few of the warm memories she carried in her heart. Her church life fostered fellowship, community, devotion, comradery and purpose.
People often stopped to gaze at all the different varietals in Gloria’s spectacular rose garden. An avid reader, she’d often finish an entire book in a single sitting. A serious competitor, she looked forward to playing Scrabble, poker and trivia games with her family.
Gloria’s advice to her loved ones was to “Be loving and committed to God, your family and friends, for you never know when there will be another sunrise.”
Gloria is preceded in death by her parents, her sister Charlene, and her husband James. She is survived by her children, Mary Jo and Steven of Sheridan, and Patricia (Judy) of Long Beach, California, along with several nephews and nieces from both the Wittwer and Stresky clans.
No funeral services are pending at this time. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Gloria Stresky Memorial Fund at the First Presbyterian Church, 2121 Colonial Drive, Sheridan.
Online condolences may be written at www.kanefuneral.com. Kane Funeral Home has been entrusted with local arrangements.