Gloria Janet Waclawik Hayes, 84, of Cambridge Springs died peacefully with her three children at her side on January 5, 2022, after a recent, catastrophic series of medical events not related to Covid-19. Gloria was born in Cambridge Springs on the corner of Spring Street and Ross Avenue on March 24, 1937, to the late John Andrew Waclawik and Stephany Agnes Ksiaszczak Waclawik. She graduated from Cambridge Springs High School in 1955, attended Erie Commercial College and worked at Erie Insurance before being swept off her feet at a dance in Waterford, PA by the love of her life, the late Arthur B. Hayes, whom she married on March 7, 1959. They were married 58 years at the time of his death, and she never fully recovered from her broken heart. She was a member of the Order of Eastern Star and the Edinboro Presbyterian Church and gave to local and national charities.
Gloria was always a spitfire. She took great pride in being a member of the Cambridge Springs cheerleading squad – until she was removed from the squad for rolling the waistband of her skirt to raise the hem to show her knees. Repair men in her home learned quickly that they better fix things right the first time, and we joked with her that she was going to run out of options at the rate she was firing them.
She was the “Queen of Karaoke,” loved the Pittsburgh Steelers, and was probably the only person to ever carry a live rooster into a local bar as part of a Halloween costume. She took pride in the fact that she never once pumped her own gas. She was an artist, a seamstress, and an avid lover of Jeopardy and Dateline. She could cook like nobody’s business, and when you weren’t feeling well, she was always quick to whip up a batch of Polish Milk Soup that has a name we could never spell even with her help. Though she hated cleaning clothes like the rest of us, it was never just laundry to her. She was a master at brightening whites, and removing stains was seen as a personal challenge worth a phone call to proclaim her success. Last week she dismantled an angel she made in 1997, restored it to bright white, and reconstructed it. She always regretted not knitting a hot pink sweater for her granddaughter.
Along with her loving husband, she raised three confident, brave, and headstrong children and taught them to show love and compassion, and when and where to speak their mind.
She was our own Betty White.
In addition to her husband Arthur B. Hayes, she was preceded in death by brother, Joseph J. Waclawik; and one sister, Sylvia Komsa.
She is survived by her three children: Shari (John) Gould of Edinboro; Bryan (Beth) Hayes of Bonita Springs, FL; and Cynthia Waldinger of Cambridge Springs; five grandchildren Matthew (Brittany) Hayes, Wesley A. Gould, Adam (Rachel) Hayes, Cody R. Gould, and her sunshine, Melody J. Waldinger; three great grandchildren Tanner Hayes, Tatum Hayes, and Raegan Hayes; sister, Pearl Hale; a brother, Eugene Waclawik; a brother-in-law, Gary (Lorraine) Hayes; sister-in-law, Darlene Schieber; and many nieces and nephews.
Friends are invited to call at the Van Matre Funeral Home, Edinboro on Sunday, January 9, from 2 – 4 and 6-8, Eastern Star service at 7:30, and at the Presbyterian Church, Edinboro at 10 am until time of the funeral service at 11 am on Monday, January 10. Interment will follow at Mitchell Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the American Stroke Association.