Gladys Mary Harrison Harper

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Gladys Mary Harrison Harper, 88, of Alabaster died Saturday, June 10, 2006, after a long struggle with breast cancer.

She was born Feb. 18, 1918, in Montevallo where she graduated high school.

She married Thomas Daniel Harper of Siluria in 1940 and began married life as a Navy wife. While her husband served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years, she traveled extensively throughout the United States. Duty stations included living in Hawaii, California, Virginia, Florida and Alabama.

Retiring from military life in the &8216;50s brought Harper back to Alabama where she began her long involvement in community service. She worked as an active PTA organizer at Thompson Elementary and Thompson High School. In 1957, she was honored by the local Civitan Club as &8220;Woman of the Year,&8221; the first and only time the honor was given.

During her first years in Alabaster she initiated the beginnings of the Alabaster Public Library securing its first-ever location. She saw the project through by obtaining, transporting and installing the first of its book collection through the Alabama Public Library Service. She served on the Alabaster Library Board until 2004. She also served on the Shelby County Library Board for more than 20 years.

Her other community efforts include service to the following: the Mental Health Association of Shelby County, the Heart/Lung Association of Shelby County and the Alabaster Zoning Board.

Following diagnosis with breast cancer in 1994 she began service as a Pink Lady, volunteering at Shelby Memorial Hospital until illness forced a move to a retirement facility in Birmingham.

Upon leaving her much loved community, the city of Alabaster awarded her &8220;The Key to the City of Alabaster.&8221;

She is survived by her husband of 66 years, Thomas Harper now of Birmingham; brother, Calvin Harrison of Birmingham; two daughters, Tricia Harper of Huntsville and Marcia (Bob) Mote of Denver, N.C.; grandchildren, Todd (Janie) Mote of Austin, Texas and Karen Mote of Dallas, Texas; and great-grandson Isaac Thomas of Austin, Texas. Visitation was Monday, June 12 from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Rockco Funeral Home. Funeral services were the following day, June 12 at 11:30 a.m. at Salem Cemetery on Hwy 15 South in Montevallo. Rev Donny Warkmock officiated. Family and friends were invited to share memories at the First Methodist Church in Alabaster at 12:30 following the funeral.

Instead of flowers the family asks that donations be made to the Alabaster Public Library in her honor: 100 Ninth St. NW, Alabaster, AL 35001. Checks payable to Albert L. Scott, public library.

Rockco Funeral Home Montevallo directing