Gladys Pearl Downs was born February 24, 1941 in Natchez, MS. She moved with her parents and siblings to Omaha, Nebraska at the age of nine months where she was later baptized at Mount Moriah Baptist Church at a young age. Gladys met the love of her life and husband Edward Downs Sr. in 1961 in Omaha, Nebraska. To this union, they reared six children “The Big 6”: Rhonda (Downs) Santiago, Randy Downs, Rochelle Downs, Lillie Downs, Edward Downs Jr., and Stacy Downs. Gladys is preceded in death by her parents Squire & Lillie B. Jackson, and 12 siblings: John Jackson, Azell Woods, Willis Jackson, Grenal Jackson, Elsie Patterson, Burnice Jackson, Dennis Jackson, William Jackson, Mary Snoddy, Rosa Moore, Frances Jackson, and Curtis Jackson. Psalms 23 — 2 Corinthians 9:7 — Matthew 25:35. Gladys exemplified the listed scriptures by devoting her time, energy, wisdom, and/or giving her last of anything. Her family—both near and far—called upon her whenever they had a need and she was always available to help. Her knowledge and advice was invaluable! Her classy, elegant style reflected her inner and outer beauty and spirit — all balanced with a witty sense-of-humor and her distinct contagious laughter. Throughout her life, Gladys enjoyed rearing her family, cooking, talking on the phone, listening to Aretha Franklin’s Amazing Grace album, watching her favorite soap opera The Young and the Restless, collecting Lladro’s, and going shopping for anyone other than herself. Additionally, the past nine years, Gladys helped unify her extended family while serving as the Administrator for her Grandfather’s (Ed Smith Sr.) Mississippi Estate. Gladys leaves to cherish her memory her beloved husband, six children, 13 grandchildren (Randy Downs Jr., Ricardo Santiago Jr., Roberto Santiago, Brandon Downs, Ciara Downs, Sharese Cherry, Desiree Venneman, Jasmine Downs, Ivana Santiago, Jade Downs, Janine Downs, Jordan Downs, Eddie Downs III), 13 great-grandchildren, and a host of extended relatives.
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