Gladys I. (Irving) Dowling

August 24, 1928 ~ May 13, 2022 (age 93)


Gladys (Irving) Dowling


August 24, 1928 - May 13, 2022


Gladys I. Dowling, 93, of Norwalk, CT, died on May 13, 2022 at Autumn Lake Healthcare after a brief illness. Wife of the late John G. Dowling, Gladys lived in Rowayton for more than 50 years and then in East Norwalk for the past 17 years. She is survived by her brother-in-law Dr. Robert T. Dowling, nephews Tim (Sophie) Dowling and Chris (Chloe) Dowling, and nieces Melissa (Ianko) Dowling and Lynn (Asia) Dowling, as well as great-nephews Barnaby, Johnnie, William, Thomas, John and George Dowling.


Gladys did not want a funeral or service of any kind, so she was interred next to her husband John in St. Mary’s cemetery in Norwalk in a private ceremony.  She was not a big fan of obituaries (and was not that interested in having her own), so here are just a few things you should know about Gladys.


She was born in Norwalk on August 24, 1928 to Robert Irving and Gladys Mary (Ghiotto) Irving (Rabushka). She graduated from Norwalk High School and St. Vincent’s Hospital School of Nursing in Bridgeport, CT. She worked for Dr. E. Tremain Bradley in Norwalk for more than 25 years, and then had a second career managing the estate of the heir to Fawcett Publications.


Gladys met her husband through her friend Jean, who was dating John’s brother Bob at the time. She and John married in 1954 and enjoyed going skiing and boating, playing tennis and golf and visiting Sanibel Island until his death in 1984.


Always larger than life, she encouraged her nieces and nephews to call her Beautiful Aunt Gladys since they were little. That got shortened to BAG as they got older — something she probably didn’t plan on.


Gladys absolutely loved tennis and traveled to see different tournaments. She and her late sister-in-law, Marjorie Dowling, had a great a trip to Wimbledon in 1991, even though it rained almost the entire time.


Many friends and family members benefitted from her season tickets at the U.S. Open. She always tipped the stadium ushers well, and they took care of her with better seats and white glove service (which apparently included occasionally reminding nephews when it was time to meet Aunt Gladys for lunch).


Gladys also loved the theater, opera and concerts, and was a terrific dancer. She liked to read and appreciated book recommendations, and she always had several intricate needlepoint projects going.


She had impeccable taste and an amazing sense of style, which she rather unsuccessfully tried to pass on to her nieces and nephews. Aunt Gladys would feel free to let us know if she thought it was time to shave off that beard, throw out that baggy old sweater or get rid of those godawful shoes, but she gave compliments and praise just as freely. We knew that she was always there for us and rooting for us with her own special brand of tough love.


Perhaps most important, Gladys had a wonderful sense of humor and loved to have a laugh, something that got her — and us — through tough times. She cherished her many friends and touched more lives than she will ever know.


Rest in peace, Beautiful Aunt Gladys.

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