Gloria Elias was born in Phoenix, Arizona on May 28, 1933. She was one of seven children born to Alex and Agnes Ackel. She grew up in the Valley attending St. Mary’s Elementary and High Schools.
Gloria married Tom Elias in 1953, and they celebrated sixty wonderful years of marriage before his passing in 2013. She spent 26 years as the Attendance Secretary at St. Mary’s High School. She loved working with the students and was a surrogate mom to many. After a short retirement, she surprised us all when she was hired by Sky Harbor Airport in the security department. She used her sharp eye and people reading skills to detect contraband and helped keep travelers safe.
She often stated her most fulfilling job was being a mother. She was blessed with a large family, including five children, sixteen grandchildren, and eighteen great grandchildren.
Gloria understood that the best things in life were the simple pleasures. She was an avid reader and volunteered at her local library branch. She also enjoyed shopping, going to the movies, and the occasional trip to the casino. Above all, she valued her strong relationships with God and family. Her favorite times included family gatherings and summer vacations in the mountains or at the beach.
The house on 22nd street was always filled with love and laughter, especially around the holidays. For nearly fifty years, Gloria and Tom loved bringing everyone together at their annual Christmas Eve Party. She will be remembered for her charm, elegance, a beautiful smile, and so much more.
She is survived by her children, Virginia “Ginger” Sanford (Timothy), Tom Elias (Beth), Mark Elias (Anne), Tim Elias (Kelly), and Maria Murphy (Bill), fifteen grandchildren, eighteen great grandchildren with one on the way, her sister Sue Ackel, and numerous cousins, nephews, nieces, and friends.
A Memorial Mass will be held at her beloved St. Mary’s Basilica, 231 N. 3rd Street, Phoenix at 10:00a.m. on Saturday, December 18, 2021.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Hospice of the Valley, 1510 East Flower Street, Phoenix, AZ 85012; https://www.hov.org/donate/.
I love and miss you Grammy! I will always cherish our time together -playing cards, laughing, talking on the phone, and watching your favorite shows. You were the best listener and always gave honest advice. I admire your wisdom, strength, your love of family, and your faith in God.
I will carry you with me, until I see you again.
Hayley & Jeremy
My deepest sympathy for your loss. Your mom/grandmother is on a new journey to her heavenly home. Rest in paradise Mrs. Elias.
Well do I remember the Elias family of 22nd street as we shared friendships, babysitting, high jinks and even once Christmas decorations. Gloria was always such a loving and caring person. My condolences to all her family.
My deepest sympathy for your loss. Rest In Peace Aunt Gloria. Love ❤️ JoAnne (Elias) Kuhl
Dolly (Renteria) Moreno
Prayers and God’s blessings to all the famiy. Mrs. Elias always welcomed us to school with a smile. Much love for a wonderful heart.
We are heartbroken to hear of your loss. During my entire time at St. Mary’s, Mrs. Elias was the smiling face in the office. Always generous with a caring and kind word. She is and will always be one of my most fond memories of my time at St. Mary’s.
Sending my love and gratitude from an old Saint Agnes and Saint Mary’s student with fond memories of Mrs. Elias,
JeanMarie (Woods) Mead
Dear cousin’s, very sorry for the loss of Auntie you are in our thoughts and prayer’s. I will miss her smile and gentle ways.
You all had the best Christmas Eve Parties, but she will celebrate with uncle Tom now. We loved having them over for Christmas Day Dinner, and Auntie could not wait for the BINGO to start with her coffee in hand, she was a competitor till the end!
The Utley Family
No matter what age our parents leave this world and what our age is when this happens, we never stop seeking their help, love, guidance, love and support the rest of our lives.
Your mother was a wonderful treasure to know and work with. She was a very special person to me while I worked with her at St. Mary’s.
May she continue loving you and guiding you in this world.