Gloria Levin Le Cuyer, 95 (37 days shy of 96), reluctantly left us on December 5th, 2022, after one final nod and “I love you” between her and her devoted son Adam, slipping away peacefully shortly after he left her hospital room. She didn’t want to go, and we didn’t want her to leave, but as mom always said, we don’t always get what we want. Then again she also always said she “couldn’t eat on an empty stomach,” so what did she know? (Quite a lot, actually.)
Gloria was a 67-year resident of Margate, and six-month resident of Linwood in a house that’s “beautiful, but so much walking!” She and her husband, Nathan, moved to Margate into the house they’d built in 1955 on Douglass Avenue after living in a rented apartment in Chelsea Village, Atlantic City, since they were newlyweds in 1949, to raise their family, before moving to Dolphin Drive to take care of her mother in 1980. Prior to that, Gloria had summered at the Jersey shore since she was a child, staying with her maternal aunt or paternal grandparents in Atlantic City, since the early 1930s, and could recount vivid details of memories more than nine decades old right through to the end. The body went slowly, then quickly, but not the mind, which was sharp as a tack and often stubborn as a mule – a decided family trait.
Born in Philadelphia on January 11, 1927, Gloria received a B.A. in teaching from the University of Pennsylvania in 1949, and subsequently earned her Master’s Degree in Human Development at Fairleigh Dickinson University, then continued earning additional education credits until she was but a thesis away from achieving a PhD. Gloria worked for more than 45 years in the Atlantic City Board of Education system as an elementary school teacher, pre-K teacher, and full-time Program Coordinator for Atlantic and Cape May Counties. She taught first grade at the Massachusetts Avenue School, fourth grade at Richmond Avenue, and ended her long career teaching preschool at Westside and the Uptown Complex. Gloria was also a pioneering member of the Head Start early education program in the mid-‘60s.
Gloria retired from teaching in 1994, but didn’t remain idle. She traveled abroad throughout Europe and to the Caribbean islands (more beaches!). She served as President of the Save Lucy Committee (which explains all of her ubiquitous Lucy sweatshirts), was a member of Temple Shirat Hayam, Alpha Delta Kappa, and ORT. Gloria had a life-long love of musical theatre in NYC (and in the West End, and locally, and whatever school production Adam was in), seeing everything from the original South Pacific with her beloved grandparents to The Lion King with her beloved son. She was crazy for the slots at the casinos (refusing to leave until she’d put back everything she’d won), and loved dining out at Crab Trap, Fitzpatricks, a White House pepper steak, Wendy’s nuggets, and having take-out delivered from Pierre’s (her other kitchen, not that she did much in her actual kitchen).
At home, despite having access to hundreds of channels, the TV always found its way to the Game Show Network, Price is Right, Wheel and Jeopardy. She loved animals, purple, the beach and benches, particularly when sight-seeing. Once upon a time she was a bowler, mah-jongg enthusiast, and later in life enjoyed playing bridge, canasta and Pan with the girls. Despite her fierce intelligence, she spent hours on word search puzzles, the Press’s “crossword,” solitaire, and bodice-ripper romance novels procured from the helpful staff at the Ventnor Library, before her vision failed her. Being only “slightly diabetic,” she had an insatiable sweet tooth, snacking mightily – much to her finger-wagging son’s frustration – on Johnson’s popcorn, chocolate, and anything with peanut butter (which, admittedly, her son and his husband Alex provided for her anyway, because she loved it so). She was addicted to salt, bacon, Taylor pork roll, eschewed vegetables, and still made it to almost 96, so ha!
Gloria was predeceased by her parents Harriette Harris Levin Esrick and Harry Levin, sister Rhoda Rottenberg, husband of nearly 60 years Nathan Le Cuyer, her beloved German shepherds Lady and Lady 2, and her daughter. She is survived by her cherished son Adam Grey Le Cuyer and son-in-law Alexandre Le Cuyer, with whom she made her home, and her constant companion Alexa, who was always there to give her the time, weather, and an endless serenade of Manilow, Mathis, and Les Miserables. Her “boys” adored her and did everything in their power to make her comfortable and happy; Alex in particular spoiled her rotten, giving in to all her naughty requests when Grey wasn’t looking, and keeping her company watching Judge Judy, theBachelor, and the other dreck which Grey refused to watch with her. It was a secret to no one, of course, that Grey spoiled her as well. Because the love between them was deep, loyal and abiding, and will endure this sad temporary interruption nevertheless.
Other survivors include her nephews Lee and Will Rottenberg and their families; as well as another son, two grandchildren, and one or two great-grandchildren somewhere in Florida.
Family and friends are invited to attend her final service to be held at Shirat Hayam 700 Swarthmore Avenue, Ventnor, at 12:30 PM, on Thursday, December 8th, 2022, with interment at Beth Israel Cemetery in EHT immediately thereafter. In lieu of flowers, any contributions in Gloria’s name may be made to the Humane Society.