Gloria and her husband, Don, came to Bangladesh in 1989 to do medical work as a result of devastating floods the year before. Don had recently retired from general practice as a doctor and so was available to serve God overseas several times in periods of one to three years during the following 10 years.
Before Don and Gloria arrived, there was discussion about what to call them. The senior nursing staff decided that Dadu and Didima – grandfather and grandmother – would suit best because of their age, and these names stuck. The name followed Gloria to New Zealand and that’s what her grandchildren call her. Her car even had a “Didima” number plate.
Her primary gift to the community was as a mother – a carer and a friend. She “adopted” many of the young people in the church and spent hours teaching them English, having them around for meals and generally showing her love for them.
Gloria was ready to tackle most things – including people if they were doing what she thought was wrong – and she went about learning Bengali with energy and commitment. When she was asked to share in ladies’ meetings she always spoke in Bengali from a full handwritten script.
Her practical skills of cooking and sewing were greatly appreciated as was her skill of massaging. Several of her colleagues not only enjoyed being on the receiving end but also appreciated being taught to do this themselves. Additionally, her skill as an artist continues to be enjoyed in the many pictures that she painted and gave away during her time in Brahmanbaria.
Didima gave generously of her time and talents wherever she lived. She is part of several families in Brahmanbaria and she kept in touch with many. She spoke to some of her “sons” just a few days before she died. We were asked a few months ago – “We need a doctor urgently. Would Dadu and Didima come back for a few months?”
She will be greatly missed.
– Susan and John
Gloria passed away in December after a battle with cancer. She is survived by Don, their six daughters (plus a few others she “adopted” along the way), and 11 grandchildren. She attended Whangaparaoa Baptist for most of the past 37 years.