The last time I saw Gladys Crowder


The last time I saw Gladys Crowder (12 Dec 1940-31 May 2023) was at St. Peter’s Hospital about six weeks ago. I had not seen her in a long while, partly due to a series of ailments she had been experiencing. She was a bit groggy as she was talking to her husband, Tim. She did this double-take when she spotted me in the doorway; it was great.

When my father was dying in 2000 – though I didn’t know that until the day before he passed – his doctor said that the body could only stand so many “insults” – that’s the word he used. Gladys had suffered several “insults” in the past several months.

Two days before she died, I had a lengthy conversation with someone about her. It has proven to be very helpful. And yet, even though I knew the day was coming, I was gutted by the news. It’s cliche that knowing the trajectory doesn’t make it easier to accept.

After I heard the news of Gladys’ passing, I called her sister Grace. She instructed me to tell her funny stories about Gladys. But not yet. In nearly four decades, with stints in two different church choirs together and other shared histories, I should be able to come up with something in due time.

These pictures were taken in February 1986 at 224 Ontario Street in Albany, NY. No, I didn’t remember this. I labeled the back of the photos, and I probably took them with a disposable camera.

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