Cover photo for Gloria Elias's Obituary
Gloria Elias Profile Photo

Gloria Elias

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;

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gloria Elias, please visit our flower store.


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