Gladys Ruth Havens, 81, of McPherson, passed away peacefully on Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, at McPherson Hospital. She was a retired preschool teacher and had worked in children’s ministries at church, and as an elder care companion.
She was born Jan. 29, 1932, in Hutchinson, the daughter of Rudolph A. and Selma (Schmidt) Gaeddert. She graduated from Berean Academy in 1949 and from Grace Bible Institute in Omaha, Neb. On June 13, 1954, Gladys was united in marriage to Austin L. Havens in Hutchinson.
Gladys was a member of the New Hope Evangelical Church.
After serving her God, her family and her community for 81 years, Gladys went home to her reward in heaven. Reflecting on her life brings to mind two of her favorite songs; Jesus Loves the Little Children and Children of the Heavenly Father. Gladys loved the little children. She devoted her life to caring for and teaching children, as a pre-school Sunday school teacher in church, a babysitter in her home and as an assistant in McPherson preschools. Even at age 81, she was seen on the floor playing with children she was babysitting during a women’s Bible Study. Along with teaching fun songs and A, B, Cs, she taught how to respect and care about others and how to love each other.
Francis of Assisi said “Preach the Gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.” Gladys didn’t need many words to express her faith. She believed in Jesus’ command to “love thy neighbor.” Her love was visible in her eyes, her quick smile, the tone of her voice, and a warm hug.
Gladys was also known for serving her family with her baking. Her family will always have memories of coming home to the wonderful fragrance of fresh baked bread, cherry pie, zwiebach and peppernuts.
As a young woman, Gladys felt called to be a missionary, with plans to serve in Haiti. Instead, she spent her life serving God in her church and her community. Knowing her interest in other countries, her family celebrated her 80th birthday on a trip to Central America. Her adventurous spirit showed in her sense of wonder at seeing iguanas and monkeys in the trees. A young boy in Belize even convinced her to have her picture taken holding a small crocodile.
Her family and community will miss her warm smile, her expression of genuine concern for others problems and her cheerful singing of children’s songs, like the “Itzy Bitzy Spider”.
Survivors include: her husband, Austin of the home; sons, Charlie Havens (Barbara) of Chicago, Phil Havens (Lori) of McPherson, and Hal Havens (Kelly) of Lenexa, Kan.; daughter, Rebecca Provinse (Darrell) of St. Louis, Mo.; brother, M. James Gaeddert (Janice) of Newton; eight grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. Gladys especially enjoyed being “Grandma Gladys” to Grace and Nathan Prescott and honorary “Mom” to their parents, Ella and Dave Prescott.
Page 2 of 2 - She was preceded in death by her parents and a sister, Alice Schroeder.
Funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, at New Hope Evangelical Church with Rev. Jim Keil officiating. Burial will precede the service at 9 a.m. on Saturday at McPherson Cemetery. Visitation will be from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, at Stockham Family Funeral Home, with family receiving friends from 6 to 8 p.m.
Please join Gladys’ family in celebrating the life of a loving mother, wife, and friend.
Memorial donations may be given to New Hope Evangelical Church Children’s Ministries in care of Stockham Family Funeral Home, 205 North Chestnut, McPherson, KS 67460. Personal condolences may be sent to the family at www.stockhamfamily.com.