A New Year’s eve Wyoming blizzard kept Asa and Mary Johnston worried about the arrival of their second child. Knowing they were unable to get Mary to the hospital, they called for the doctor to try and get to them. Gladys Marie was born at the family homestead on the Park and Big Horn county line Jan. 3, 1943. She died Jan. 12, 2020.
Gladys grew up on the farm with her older sister Betty, and both girls had a love for animals, gardening and flowers that continued on throughout their lives. They learned how to work hard, manage what life threw at them and how to make do with what they had. Gladys attended school in Powell and graduated third highest in her class in 1961. She later attended NWCC, graduating in 1963.
On Nov. 23, 1963, she married Lloyd McNeil of Cody. Soon the arrival of Cindy Sue, then Justin Lloyd and later Sandra Lynn rounded out this family. They made their home in the Powell, Byron and Deaver areas.
After they divorced in 1977, Gladys moved her family from Deaver to Lovell, and she started her longtime career as the bookkeeper for the Lovell Chronicle. Gladys was always resourceful at bringing in extra income to make ends meet and keep her children thriving. She had worked part-time as a dog groomer in Powell, so she continued that in her home for many years.
Gladys retired from the newspaper after 36 years and carried on a new love of painting. A hobby again turned into a passion and a side job. She began teaching summer art camps for the Lovell Rec District and spent many years helping youngsters find a love for creativity and art. She was encouraging and always proud of every single piece of artwork her students created.
Gladys loved her church and had a strong lifelong faith. She served the Lord by playing the piano and organ for the First Southern Baptist Church. For many years she taught arts and crafts at vacation Bible school and Sunday school, as she thoroughly enjoyed teaching children. Although Gladys was handed many unusual difficulties throughout her life, she drew closer to God and found strength to survive through her faith.
Gladys was preceded in death by her parents, her son Justin, her sister Betty and grandchildren Ashlee Bean and Josh.
She is survived by her daughters Cindy Asay and Mike Asay and Sandy (Mike) Wilson and grandchildren Levi (Kayla) Asay and Howard (Lacee) Asay, Toree McNeil, Samantha Mickelson, Kallee Jo Wilson and Jessee (Dani) Wilson, Miranda (Jake) Wolff and Steven McNeil Nedved. She loved her 13 great-grandchildren. She is also survived by brother-in-law Ralph Wensky and his children, Ralph Jr. (Shawna) and Carla (Ben), and her special church and work families.
Gladys was always on the go and had a special place in her heart for her children, nieces, nephews and especially her grandchildren.
Services will be held at the Lovell Bible Church on Friday, Jan. 17, at 10 a.m. with graveside services following at the Lovell Cemetery.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Gladys Marie (Johnston) McNeil, please visit our floral store.