89-year-old Gloria Sargent Smith of Yarmouthport, died at sunrise on October 5, surrounded by half-read books, works of art, family members and pets.
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Her illness was short; just a few weeks. And while she was sick, there were things she wanted: She wanted water with no ice; and she wanted the radio close by so she could hear the news of the day. She wanted to live long enough to see the first presidential debate. And she wanted to fill out and sign her absentee ballot.
"This is a picture I took of her while she was signing the ballot in the hospital," said her youngest son, Michael. "She wanted it recorded. She always wanted to know her obituary; she wanted to know what was going to be said about her at her service, so I had already prewritten some things. It looked like she was not going to make it out so, just in case, still hoping -- and I went in and I read her, her obit and I asked her if she wanted me to put in the political stuff? 'Oh yes, yes! You must put that in, and the last line has to be, 'please get out and vote.'"
The obituary Smith approved reads that she was born in Boston in 1923, and she was raised both in Winchester and along the Bass River in Yarmouth, where as a girl she sailed a Cape Cod Knockabout called the Waterwitch. She was a 'firebrand,' it says. A 'feminist and fierce advocate for women and social justice.'
"My mother was always outspoken. And particularly when it had to do with women’s or human rights," says her oldest son, Jeffrey. "And I think she learned that in the company of women when she went to Quaker school, to have her own voice and that she did, as you’d noticed, her bumper stickers are abundant on the back of her car. You always knew where she stood, and she stood often at town meetings and any part of town government if she thought, always she was thinking about the underdog, the unequal and that was always what she stood for."
Most everyone called her "Glo," even her children. The grandchildren and great-grandchildren called her 'Nana Glo'. She was the family matriarch, an opinionated but polite advisor to family and friends. Her daughter-in-law Cyndee says Smith was fond of saying, 'My advice is free. It doesn't matter if you take it. I have it to give.'
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