Gloria Elm

December 1930
August 2023


Gloria attended Kearney (Nebraska) High School where she was involved, among many activities, in student government. Gloria served as student body secretary, while her future husband, Dick Elm, served as president. In high school, she was selected to the National Honor Society, was a cheerleader, May Queen and excelled in design and art. By virtue of her recognized artistic talents, she was tapped by a local clothing store in Kearney to design their window displays while still in high school. Although she was offered a college scholarship in design after high school, she chose the path of wife and mother, and married her high school sweetheart, Dick Elm on Nov. 11, 1949. Their legendary lifelong romance was celebrated in the fall of 2019 on their 70th wedding anniversary. They began their family in Nebraska, where their first of six children was born in 1950 and their last in Pueblo in 1958 - five daughters and a son. Dick and Gloria moved to Pueblo in 1953 where Dick would become a longtime, and fondly remembered, educator. Gloria managed a large and lively household and prided herself in wrangling six very active children. Ever the seamstress, she made most of the clothes for the five girls - and even their doll’s outfits. Given the dearth of fashionable maternity clothing at the time, Gloria combined her fashion sense and sewing skills to sell one-of-a-kind custom clothing for expecting mothers. This provided additional income while still managing a busy home. She was well remembered for her excellent culinary skills - from feeding a family of eight on a single chicken to single-handedly hosting holiday dinners of over 50. With an ever-expanding family of 18 grandchildren and so far 29 great-grandchildren, they recall fondly how ‘Grandma Great’ would always have something delicious to eat whenever they came over. Grandma’s home in Pueblo West was the warm and welcoming gathering place for all major holidays, and Gloria’s feasts were always the highlight. After 15 years as a ‘domestic engineer’ and as the last of the kids had entered school, Gloria embarked on her second career. She entered college at the then-University of Southern Colorado (now CSU-Pueblo) to become a teacher for 23 years. As an elementary teacher at Bradford, Morton and then Sunset Park, she fueled her passion for education by making sure each student was recognized for their individual learning needs. She was recognized for her unique level of commitment towards teaching ‘the whole child’ with the Colorado Reading Teacher of the Year Award in 1976. A true educator never forgets a student and a student never forgets someone who inspired them. And given that ethos, Gloria and Dick instilled a legacy of educators within their own family with 13 children and grandchildren going on to careers in public education. Gloria would want us all to remember this quote from another legendary teacher, Dr. Seuss: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

Friends & Family

Preceded in death, Gloria lost the love of her life, Dick, after 70 years of marriage in 2020; and daughter, Sue in 2022. Gloria and Dick’s love story produced five surviving children: Cindy (Greg) Elm-Sinn of Rye, Colo., Sally Guasta of Pueblo West, Sandy Sazama of Olathe, Colo., Mike (Debbie) Elm of Montrose, Colo., and Shelly (Greg) Brunjak of Leadville, Colo. Donations may be made in Gloria’s name to National Jewish Health Respiratory Institute/Denver; Sangre de Cristo Hospice/Pueblo and PAWS for Life/Pueblo.

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