Gladys Bird, 90, Rochester, was surrounded by her loving family when she passed away at 12:32 p.m., Sunday, April 4, 2021, at Lifecare Center, Rochester.
Born in Norfolk, Virginia, Catherine Gladys Harrison was born on July 30, 1930. She was the cherished daughter of Willie Thomas and Irene Lawrence Harrison. Growing up near Towson, Md., she graduated from Towson High School with her class in 1949.
During her Indianapolis years, Gladys founded a homeless shelter in 1984. She and Ron were a members of the St. Alban Episcopal Church.
On November 19, 1983, Gladys and Mr. Ronald C. Bird were married in Knoxville, Tenn. They shared 38 years of life’s adventures. With a love for exploring and cruises, Gladys and Ron enjoyed over 48 cruises navigating waters all over the world. At home they looked forward to cruising around Lake Manitou and watching the sunset. They also shared a passion, cheering for Indiana University Men’s Soccer Team. From 1982 – 2008 they did not miss a game and traveled to all venues wherever they played. The Bird’s were recognized for their contributions and support of the team.
As entrepreneurs, the Birds founded the Ameri-Can Engineering Company in Argos 1988. Their firm engineers and develops premier quality luxury restroom and shower trailer systems. In 2018, Ameri-Can celebrated their 30-year anniversary. For many years Gladys served on the board of directors of the Portable Sanitation Association International. She was also a member of the Rochester Lion’s Club.
Gladys inspired people to enjoy life to the fullest. She could light up a room with her twinkling eyes and radiant smile bringing all who met her happiness and excitement.
Left to cherish Gladys’ memory is her loving husband Ron at home, her children David R. Harling (Renee) of Culver, Thomas A. Harling (Elizabeth) of Fishers, Patricia Harling Lontz of Greenfield, Garry A. Harling (Angie) of Cicero; daughters-in-law Debby Harling and Kathy Harling; 23 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren.
Preceding Gladys in death are her parents, first husband Ambler A. Harling on April 1976, sons Robert S. Harling on March 26, 2011 and Warren S. “Butch” Harling March 1, 2021.
A celebration of the life of Mrs. Gladys Bird will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, April 10, in the Good Family Funeral Home, 1200 West 18th Street, Rochester. A Lion’s Club Memorial service will be held at 12:45 p.m. Gladys’ family will receive friends at 11 a.m. until the time of the services. Mr. Garry A. Harling will officiate.
Graveside services will be at 2 p.m., April 17, in the Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis. Memorials in lieu of flowers may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105-9959.