Gloria Bickham Elrod, age 94, died on Friday, May 12, 2023, of complications due to pneumonia. She was born in Bossier City, Louisiana, on April 14, 1929, to Edward Eugene Bickham and Elsie Solomon Bickham, the third of seven children. She graduated fifth in her class from Bossier High School in 1946, having served as editor of the school annual. On January 22, 1950, she married her high school sweetheart, Donald Edward Elrod, at the First Baptist Church of Bossier City. When Donald graduated from Shreveport’s Centenary College, he accepted a position as a geologist with Carter Oil Company, and the family moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Carter Oil was acquired by Standard Oil of New Jersey, now operating as Exxon. The Tulsa move was to be the first in a series of oil business relocations, including Jackson, Miss.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Andrews, Texas; Hobbs, N.M.; Houston, Texas; and New Orleans, La. Gloria coped with the stress of moving her family across the country every three years through activity in the local Baptist Churches and by cooking. Her sisters were known for their Louisiana cooking, but she fearlessly adopted the new cuisines she encountered in her journeys, for which her sons are eternally grateful. In 1974, Donald, the love of her life, died tragically in a recreational accident in Florida at age 45.
Gloria would never remarry but would become remarkably independent as a widow. She worked briefly, took college courses, volunteered, played bridge, traveled on cruises and abroad with friends and family, relocated her home several times, and lovingly fulfilled her role as grandmother and great-grandmother. Her favorite pastime was reading, which began in early elementary school and continued for the rest of her life. She read for hours each day, well into her 90s. She shared that love with family and friends through regular gifting of books that she hoped would inspire or entertain them. She will be remembered with love and missed immensely by her entire family.
Gloria is survived by her brother, Clifton Bickham; by her three sons, Stephen, David, and Gary; by five grandchildren; by six great-grandchildren; and by many nieces and nephews.
Gloria’s interment will be at Hill Crest Memorial Park Cemetery in Haughton, La. A memorial service will be held at the grave site at 3 p.m., Saturday, May 27.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Huntsville-Madison County Public Library,
915 Monroe Street, Huntsville, AL 35801. The library’s web address for gifts is https://hmcpl.org/give.