Gloria Ann Valka Whiteley

June 25, 1952, November 19, 2019

Gloria Ann Whiteley

Gloria Ann Valka Whiteley was born into a Czech-American community in El Campo Texas on June 25, 1952.  She was the second child of Annie Jennie Dornak Valka and William George Valka. Gloria spent her early years experiencing life within the large Czech community and by helping out on family farms when not in school. Gloria frequently recalled those days as ones that helped give her an appreciation for hard work and the value of family – and instilled in her a lifetime love of gardening.  Gloria especially enjoyed her flowering plants, and could be found tending, cutting and admiring them year-round. 

Of course, growing up in a Czech community meant that life revolved around the kitchen – and Gloria made that her domain. She worked alongside her grandmother, Frances, and her mother, Annie to turn the harvest into tables full of delicious foods, including, of course, the baked goods for which Czechs are so well-known - kolaches.  Until the very end, Gloria could still be found mixing up a batch of her special sugar cookies for her grandchildren and never failed to have at least a couple dozen kolaches frozen “just in case.”  It remains unclear if Gloria could actually cook for less than a dozen people. Friends and family were always welcome at her table. Her strong connection to her Czech heritage remained with her throughout her life.

It was partly her skills with respect to dessert preparation – and partly a devastating set of emerald green eyes and platinum blonde hair – that ambushed a young Aggie named Mark in Beaumont.   Although Mark was an employee of Gloria’s father, Bill, it was not long before they had fallen in love. They married January 8, 1972 and began 47.5 years together.

The early days were lean. Gloria had supported Mark’s dream of opening his own business, but they had precious little between them other than a moody AMC Gremlin, a bit of optimism and a whole lot of grit.  Soon after launching the business, Gloria became pregnant with their first child, Jason.  In the two and a half years that followed, Mark’s business grew as did the family, as Gloria gave birth to second son, Adam and a daughter, Frances.  Suddenly, the gamble to open the business was one that could not fail.

With a growing family, Gloria and Mark moved to Lumberton in 1979 where they enrolled their children in school and quickly settled into a community that would yield many lifelong friends.  Gloria stayed busy over the next twenty years as a mom, a den leader, a coach and a wife.   She ran for, and was elected to the Lumberton ISD School Board, where she advocated for student welfare and increased collegiate prep programming.  Pursuit of education, in all aspects, was one of Gloria’s passions. She taught G.E.D. in Kountze for years before deciding to get her Masters degree from Stephen F. Austin and join the faculty at Lumberton High School and, later, Lamar Institute of Technology.

With her children grown and grandchildren arriving by the year, Gloria fully embraced the role of grandmother. Showcasing the cooking and baking talents that she first learned as a girl in El Campo to the delight of the grandkids (and despair of their parents).  Gloria dazzled as the center of a family orbit that remained close in heart, even as it grew in number.  She was the center of our universe.

Gloria was called home on November 19, 2019. At the time of death, she was surrounded by her family and her friends. Survivors include her children, Jason Whiteley and his wife, Jana, of Rye, New York; Adam Whiteley and his wife, Cinnamon, of South Riding, Virginia; and Frances Currie and her husband, Paul, of Rowlett; grandchildren, Noah Whiteley, Dominik Whiteley, Anastasia Whiteley, Ethan Whiteley, Emma Whiteley, Ainsley Currie, and Carter Currie; brothers, Kenneth Valka and his wife, Beverly, of Belton and William Valka and his wife,  Barbara, of Spring; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. 

She is preceded in death by her parents and husband, Mark Wayne Whiteley.

A gathering of Mrs. Whiteley’s family and friends will be from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., Sunday, November 24, 2019, at Woodcrest United Methodist Church. Her funeral service will be at 10:00 a.m., Monday, November 25, 2019, Woodcrest United Methodist Church, 1684 Highway 96, Lumberton. Her interment will follow at Guedry Cemetery, Batson, under the direction of Broussard’s, 1605 North Major Drive, Beaumont.

In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully asks that you consider a donation in the name of the recently established Gloria and Mark Whiteley Agricultural Scholarship. The Whiteley scholarship is a specially designated fund established to enable first-time young farmers to purchase an auction animal to raise. Checks may be mailed to PO Box 8551, Lumberton, Texas 77657.

Video

Gathering of Family and Friends
Woodcrest United Methodist Church
1684 Highway 96, Lumberton, Texas 77657
Sunday, November 24, 2019
5:00 p.m - 8:00 p.m.
Funeral Service
Woodcrest United Methodist Church
1684 Highway 96, Lumberton, Texas 77657
Monday, November 25, 2019
10:00 a.m.
Interment
Guedry Cemetery
11775 Batson Prairie Rd. Batson, TX 77519

Comments (6)

  • Linda K. Bridges

    25 November 2019 at 17:04 | #

    My thoughts and prayers are with you as you grieve. Gloria was a beautiful lady in every thing that she did. But she was a down to earth woman. She was a pleasant & hospitable lady who loved her family deeply. We have lost a beautiful part of our community with Mark and Gloria absent. My condolences to all of you for your loss.

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  • Patricia Cook and family

    22 November 2019 at 02:53 | #

    May the Lord reside in your hearts for Gloria and Mark reside safely with His house.

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  • Vanessa Valka

    21 November 2019 at 00:06 | #

    A beautiful soul taken from us too early. I can see her and Uncle Mark holding hands and walking around up there with no pain or illness. Just happy.

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  • Ruby & Wayne Alexander

    20 November 2019 at 22:05 | #

    I will always remember Gloria's smile . She was a great mother and a special grandmother. She enjoyed her family. She and Mark are together in Heaven with no pain just smiles and Happiness.
    Frances hold on to your love for your family.

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  • Clare Keown Cammack

    20 November 2019 at 17:13 | #

    Dean & I are saddened to see this. Our prayers go out to the family. She is resting with Mark now, both feeling no pain.
    Continued prayers for peace & strength during this time.

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  • Gena Powell

    20 November 2019 at 03:24 | #

    I am so sorry for your loss.. I know Mark hadn't been gone long.. I had the pleasure of know Gloria since 96 she fault me my GED glass in Kountze.. I got to take her and Edith nit to long ago along with some other lovely ladies to play bingo at Civic Center in the stretched Excursion.. had such a fun night with all of them.. I will miss you so much Gloria you will be greatl missed by many..

    reply

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