The Heroines

Gladys Sissel Thompson

is honored with a Brick from Elinor Wells Keesling.

Gladys Sissel Thompson was my teacher, mentor, and friend. When I came to Wichita University in 1941, she taught the dietetics class in the home economics department.

Then my senior year, I was privileged to be her student assistant in her role as dietician and manager of the cafeteria and the Army mess kitchen. Gladys was so well-organized, efficient, caring, and knowledgeable that I learned so much while helping her. She was loved by her employees, from the head cook to the man in charge of the dishwasher. She could be very firm, but always fair, as she dealt with employees, fellow faculty members, and customers.

The looks on the faces of the airmen the first time they entered the mess hall was interesting. Gladys was there to welcome them with her big smile. As they looked at the serving line and smelled the delicious food, they returned the smile. Although the weren't allowed to talk while eating, you knew they appreciated that extra touch of Gladys' ability.

In later life, Gladys and Lloyd and my husband and I shared a wedding anniversary date. They were married two hours longer than we were until our 47th anniversary. They were able to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Although separated by many miles, we kept up our friendship by correspondence, phone calls, and a few visits.

The Commons in the early 1940s was the student gathering place. Gladys made it a great place to go because you knew you would get delicious food.

Although Gladys' years at Wichita University were not many, she touched many lives. I will always be thankful she touched mine. I miss my contacts with her now that she is gone. She belongs in the Plaza of Heroines.

Submitted by Elinor Wells Keesling

July 22, 1998