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Blanch, NC -
Mrs. Gladys A. Fowler Graves, the oldest daughter of the late Wilford Edward “Monk” Fowler and Florence Williamson Fowler, was born on July 5, 1947, at the family farmhouse in Blanch, NC. In the early hours of February 3rd, 2024, the angels arrived and escorted her to her heavenly home.
She was a 1965 graduate of Caswell County High School in Yanceyville and a 1969 graduate of Shaw University in Raleigh. In 1983, she graduated from NC Central University in Durham. Her degrees were in early education and educational administration.
Gladys began her teaching career in the Caswell County school system during pre-integration at High Rock Elementary, where she had been a student. After marriage, she moved to Greensboro and began teaching in the Guilford County School System, where she was the first black teacher at Allen Jay Primary in High Point. Each February, she taught Black History to her all-white fourth graders because she loved to educate and enlighten young minds. In 1985–1987, she served two terms as president of the NCAE (North Carolina Association of Educators). In 1986, she served as the Deputy Director of the Terry Sanford for Senate Campaign, and in 1989, Gladys became the Director of Alumni Relations and Institutional Research at her alma mater, Shaw University. In May of 1991, Gladys joined the staff of the Public School Forum as Director of the Teaching Fellows Program as an original member. While serving as Director of the NC Teaching Fellows Program, Gladys planned and coordinated summer programs for over 25,000 rising freshmen, sophomores, and juniors.
For the past 54 years Soror Graves has been a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated Eta Eta Zeta Chapter in Yanceyville NC. The sorority demonstrates “Finer Womanhood” and building community partnerships. She was a former “Woman of the Year” with the Omicron Zeta Chapter.
Gladys was well traveled; locations include, but are not limited to, Jerusalem, Russia, Nigeria, Egypt, and numerous other countries in Africa, the Motherland.
Her spiritual faith was strong, and she loved her two church homes, Hamer Missionary Baptist Church in Blanch, and Christian Faith Baptist Church in Raleigh.
Her famous words about her humble hometown were ‘I’m going to put Blanch North Carolina on the map," and that she did.
She and her husband of thirty-three years, Hilton H. "Chuck" Graves, were quite a pair on the dance floor. Chuck was very proud of all of Gladys accomplishments. They were a striking couple until his death in 2005. They were predeceased by one daughter, “Krista Graves,” in 1977. She was also predeceased by her brother, Dennis Fowler, in 1954, and a sister, Doris Millicent Fowler Ellington, in 1974.
She retired in 2008, moved back home to her Blanch roots, and became her mother’s caretaker. After her mother’s passing in 2016, she returned as a full-time substitute teacher in the Caswell, Guilford, and Danville VA school systems until her health began to decline in November of 2021.
She leaves to cherish her memory one brother, Michael Douglas Fowler (Brenda) of Blanch, NC; his twin sister, Marian Fowler of Danville, VA; and Angela Michelle Allison (Rev. W.A.) of Greensboro, NC. One brother-in-law, Henry Graves of Elon, NC, One nephew, Michael Andre Fowler (Shawanda) of Converse, TX; two nieces, Erica Lowdermilk (Zachary) of Blanch, NC; and Ebony Fowler-Kelly (Patrice) of Olympia, WA. Three great nephews and two great nieces live in Texas, while one great nephew lives in Washington. One beloved companion, Prince Fowler Graves. She was proud of her huge extended family, which spanned from New York to Antigua, in the West Indies, and the countless students, co-workers and loving friends she encountered over her extensive career.
A Celebration of Life Service for Ms. Gladys Alma Fowler Graves will be Sunday, February 11, 2024, 1:00 pm at Hamer Missionary Baptist Church. Pastor Daniel Elmore will deliver the words of comfort. Committal and burial will follow in the Hamer Baptist Church Cemetery.
The family may be contacted at the family home house 4400 County Home Rd. Blanch, NC.
You are invited to attend services for Ms. Gladys Alma Fowler Graves virtually by clicking the following link:
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