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Gladys Townsley



Gladys Pauline Townsley of Adel, IA passed away January 9th, 2023, after complications from breaking her hip from a fall on Christmas morning. She was born in Des Moines, IA December 23rd, 1933, to Mamie LeMar & Cornelius Wolfe. A private memorial will be held at a later date.


Gladys spent most of her life in the restaurant world as a waitress, cook and the occasional bartender. Working at Bear’s Restaurant & Yankee Clipper in Ankeny, IA as well as running Cisco Tacos behind the bait shop in Polk City, IA for several summers. She also spent some years as an in-home health aid, being not only their caregiver but cook, housekeeper and friend.


Gladys loved to cook and bake, and she could make anything… Townsley Tacos; Spaghetti & Meatballs (served over mashed potatoes); Homemade Bread, Pizza & Pies (which in turn you got pie crust cinnamon rolls with the leftover pie crust) and everyone’s most loved of all, Jell-O Rolls. When those were made everyone rushed for them. You couldn’t get her to write down a recipe though because everything was measured with a coffee cup and the palm of her hand. Didn’t matter what the occasion was, if it was a Sunday dinner or Christmas Day. If you needed someplace to go you were always welcome and there was going to be plenty of food on the table to share. No one ever left hungry.


She will be remembered by many as having a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other but was proud she was able to quit both cold turkey after a bout of pneumonia in 2010, never to have the desire for them again. She would be referred to by some as the cussing grandma. She was blunt, sometimes brutally so, but if it was on her mind chances are it was coming out her mouth. She wasn’t trying to hurt your feelings, but felt it had to be said. There was probably at least once she had said to you, "Bite me". She loved her family deeply, even at times when she didn’t like them. She would say, “I don’t like you right now, I love you, but I don’t like you.”.


She recently battled Cervical Cancer and won! She had doubts she would be able to do the treatment at first. But she fought every day for 8 weeks going to radiation and was proud of her accomplishment.


She loved a bargain and to find hidden treasures at garage sales; watching Wheel of Fortune, Price is Right and her “man” Steve Harvey. Everyone knew the perfect gift to get her for any occasion…scratch tickets. If she had a buck, she was getting another ticket. If you gave her a minute, she would love to tell you a story of the “good ol days” in her southern twang (though she was not from the south) that some needed an interpreter for. She raised 6 kids that tested her patience, but her love never wavered. They made her a grandma and a GG that she was proud to brag about.

She is survived by her 3 girls; Laurie Helen, Betty Gale & Darcy Kay (Kim) Townsley; Her daughter-in-law/2nd best friend Deb Comer (Dick); Grandchildren David Townsley, Kelli Olson (Scott), Katie Williams (John), Kari Osborn (Nate), Krissi Luna (Jason), Joni Townsley (Robert Plaster Jr), Tricia Johnson (Mike Hougham), Nicole Townsley (Bobby Gilmore), Danielle Curtis (Alec Wilson) & Sara Townsley. Great-Grandkids Trent, Kalista, Ellah, Olivia, Stella, Willow Townsley; Alissa & Megan Olson; Gabriel & Henry Osborn; Jocelyn & Jacob Luna; Cadence, Kinnley & Orie Hougham; Payton, Skyla, McKenna & AJ Gilmore; Raelynn Townsley. Sister Betty Warnock plus a niece, nephews and several cousins.


She was preceded in death by her boys; Frank “Frankie”, Johnny & Michael Paul Townsley. Daughter-in-law Sheila Seals. Her mom & daddy, Mamie & Charles “Chuck” Clapsaddle, and her best friend for 70 years Kathy Beavers.

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