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Habitat for Humanity
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Life Story / Obituary
Someone once said that having somewhere to go is home, having someone to love is family, and that having both is a blessing. For Gloria Manuszak, family was by far her greatest joy. With unending love, limitless dedication, and immeasurable devotion, Gloria was a loving example in all she said and did. Her quick wit, caring nature and selfless ways will be forever remembered by those she leaves behind.
The year 1940 introduced many new forms of entertainment for all to enjoy. The sounds of Glenn Miller and Bing Crosby filled the airwaves while some of the best movies made their debut. With World War II well underway overseas, America’s involvement was inevitable, and the first peacetime draft was put into place. Amidst these ever changing times in the Indiana community of South Bend, there was nothing more joyous to celebrate in the lives of Stephen and Elizabeth Esther (Vliek) Bella than the August 20, 1940, birth of their little girl, Gloria Louise.
Raised in a loving home rich with her proud Hungarian and Dutch heritage, Gloria was the second of three children in the Bella household, joining her older sister, Georgia, and later welcoming younger brother, David. Her father worked in the automotive industry while her mother worked at a tire company. A young girl of her generation, Gloria easily made friends and attended the local schools before graduating in 1959 from Washington High School in South Bend.
During high school, Gloria dated an older boy by the name of William “Bill” Manuszak. They dated for about three years, and once Gloria graduated, she married her sweetheart that very same year. In time they welcomed the births of five children, Barb, Bill, Greg, Steve, and Whit, and Gloria could not have been happier. She made a good home for Bill and the kids, and loved being involved in the lives of her children. She waitressed at fine dining restaurants in the Kalamazoo area, including Greco’s and The Beacon Club. When her kids were growing up she enjoyed taking them to Decatur to a family cottage on Lake of the Woods, which held fond memories for Gloria. Spending time there together with her siblings and entire family was priceless for Gloria, and she loved these days immensely. Later she would come to make even more special memories taking her grandchildren there for picnics and fishing.
With the kids grown and with lives of their own, Gloria’s marriage came to an end after 30 years. Although it wasn’t easy, yet never one to wallow, she picked herself up by her bootstraps and set out to live life to the fullest. In due time, she immersed herself into home restoration and massage therapy, both of which she loved dearly. She was a lover of all things old, and antiques were something she always considered a hobby of which she loved. She began her own home flipping business, Restorations by Gloria, and loved nothing more than bringing new life to old homes, restoring them to their former glory. Cooking was another thing she spent time on. She learned how to be a great cook from her mother and over the years made some of the most delicious meals for family and friends. While in her kitchen cooking or sitting down to relax, Gloria always loved a glass of her boxed Chardonnay.
Christmastime in Gloria’s home was always festive and charming. She absolutely loved the Christmas holiday, and with her flair for decorating and her love of antiques, it was like walking back in time. There would be the smell of scrumptious food in the air and the more lights to brighten her home up, the better. Her Christmas trees were mere perfection and absolutely beautiful. While she played Words with Friends and remained connected to everyone through Facebook, the holidays just weren’t the same without playing Left Right Center with her family.
Gloria enjoyed gardening, and received that character trait from her father. She loved watching football games, especially college football. She liked every team anyone else liked, but she was mainly interested in teams from places where her family lived or went to school. She loved having that connection. Gloria loved and followed politics quite closely. She was the type of woman to look things up and check the facts on her own. Her car radio was always tuned to NPR, and she loved listening to Dave Ramsey.
Gloria was overjoyed in becoming a grandmother. She spent as much time as she could with her grandchildren, all while creating cherished memories along the way. She loved taking them blueberry picking and going to Saugatuck. Family was the very center of Gloria’s heart, and over time her family became spread near and far. She always looked forward to her trips to Arizona to visit her children and grandchildren there. With 14 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, it was almost a full-time job trying to keep track of everyone.
A selfless, giving woman, Gloria had a way all her own. She was caring in every way, and her creative flair was to be admired. It was a joy to share her company with her humor, quick wit, and talkative nature; she made everyone feel at ease. A devoted and dedicated mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, and friend, Gloria will be deeply missed and treasured in the hearts of many.
Gloria L. Manuszak, of Portage passed away on Thursday, September 20, 2018 at the age of 78. Gloria is survived by her five children: Barb Manuszak, of Mendon; Bill (Tiffiny) Manuszak, of Vicksburg; Greg (Kelly) Manuszak, of Grandville; Steve (Stacy) Manuszak, of AZ; and Whit (Tara) Manuszak, of AZ; 14 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her two siblings: Georgia Bella, of IN; David (Connie) Bella, of Paw Paw. She is preceded in death by her parents: Stephen and Esther Bella; and her grandson: Alec Manuszak.
Gloria’s family will receive friends on Monday from 4-7 pm at the McCowen & Secord Life Story Family Funeral Home, Rupert-Durham Chapel, 409 S. Main, Vicksburg (269-649-1697). The funeral service will be on Tuesday, 1:00 pm at the funeral home.
Please visit Gloria’s webpage at www.mccowensecord.com where you can sign the guestbook and share a memory. Those who wish may make contributions to Habitat for Humanity.