Gladys Pearl Niles, 94, died on Nov. 5, 2023, at Kidron Bethel Health Care in North Newton, Kan. Gladys was born on Jan. 15, 1929, in Newton, to Menno E. and Esther (Unruh) Schmidt.
Gladys grew up in a home in Newton and attended McKinley Grade School. She graduated from Newton High School in 1947, and from Bethel College in 1951, with additional schooling at Wichita State University, Emporia State University, and Utah University.
She married Clarence Niles on Aug. 12, 1951. They were married for 67 years. Gladys met Clarence at Bethel College, where they worked together on the college yearbook, Graymaroon, as assistant editor and editor, respectively.
She and Clarence began their teaching careers in western Kansas and taught there for five years, where Gladys taught English, speech, served as a librarian, and directed plays, before moving to Newton. There, she processed books at Newton Senior High School, and was a substitute teacher at Newton Junior and Senior High Schools and a media specialist at Newton High School until 1989.
Gladys was incredibly generous with her time and talents, both during her career and retirement, volunteering at the Bethel Hospital Gift Shop, Newton Medical Center Gift Shop, and Newton Et Cetera Shop, and serving on the boards of the Bethel College Women’s Association, Bethel College Alumni Association, Western District Conference Book Selection Committee, and Warkentin House, where she was also a docent. She volunteered as a docent at Kauffman Museum as well.
She was a member of the Bethel College Mennonite Church and served on its Literature Committee and Women’s Fellowship Executive Committee, as well as being active in her Sunday School class.
Gladys and Clarence loved reading and traveling; they particularly enjoyed international travel. They also enjoyed lively conversations with friends and their family, and especially cherished time with their grandchildren, and for Gladys, time with her great-grandchildren.
She is survived by her sister, Iva Reber; daughter, Gail Stucky (Mark); grandchildren, Matt (Blaire Mayhue) and Marike (Alex Igram); and two great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Clarence; daughter, Jan Niles; and parents, Menno and Esther Schmidt.
A celebration of life is scheduled for both Gladys Niles and her daughter, Gail Stucky at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023, at Shalom Mennonite Church in Newton. In lieu of flowers, those who wish to honor Glady's and Gail’s memories are encouraged to make a gift to support Bethel College, Bethel College Mennonite Church, or Shalom Mennonite Church.