Gloria Elmira Boyce was born on July 24, 1928 in Brooklyn, New York. She was the third of six children born to (the late) Lerta Taylor Eastmond and Ernest Evans Eastmond. In 1937, the Eastmonds moved their family to Jefferson Avenue in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn where Gloria resided for most of her life.
Gloria graduated from Girls High School in 1947 and the following year, began her career as an operator with The New York Telephone Company. Always a dedicated, hard worker, Gloria was promoted to Supervisor of the Accounting Department, and retired as an Assistant Staff Manager in 1987. Gloria also worked as a fashion model and talented seamstress in the early years of her career.
In 1951, Gloria welcomed her first son, Ken Wright, Jr., and her youngest son $kip (Brian) Wright was born in 1953. Gloria married her second husband, Roger Lee Boyce in April 1964, and helped raise his daughter Michelle.
In 1979, Gloria was diagnosed with breast cancer which she battled and survived. Her fight inspired a lifelong mission to help others who suffered, survived and succumbed to the disease. Well into her senior years, she chaired and hosted a survivors’ support group.
An avid traveler, Gloria spent her free time exploring the world. After retiring in 1987, traveling became her new pastime. She visited most of the U.S., and various countries in five of the seven continents. She traveled to Aruba with her “Arubians” social club yearly until 2017, and was made a citizen after thirty consecutive years of travel to the island.
Gloria was a long-standing and dedicated member of Bridge Street A.W.M.E. Church in Bed-Stuy, serving as Chairperson of the Head Start School; Treasurer of 575 Hancock HDFC Board; member of the Ethelyne Henderson Missionary Society; Chairperson of Cancer Awareness Group; Chaplain of the Senior Ladies Usher Board; former President of The New York Club; member of the Joint Board of Ushers; and Senior Board Chairperson of Special Programs. Gloria most recently attended Brooklyn Community Church, but was welcomed in worship by many congregations as she had a gift of creating family through her adoption of many children and grandchildren within her church and community.
Gloria was very outspoken in her community and was an active member of several organizations including: Church Women United, Jefferson L/S Block Association, and Community Board 3 where she chaired the Senior Citizens Committee, The National African-American Business and Professionals Women’s Club (lifetime member), The Shirley Chisolm Cultural Institute (associate member), the Senior Taskforce for Councilmember Al Vann, the Brownstoners, along with many more.
Gloria was revered by many politicians and community leaders, receiving several citations and honors. In 2015, she was named a “cornerstone resident of Brooklyn” by Borough President Eric Adams, was honored by the Bed-Stuy Oral History Project, and was featured in New York Magazine. Gloria was a pillar of the Bed-Stuy community, and was affectionately referred to as Mother Boyce, Grandma Glo and Aunt Glo by more than just her family.
Gloria is predeceased by her siblings: Ernest, Evelyn, Thelma and Clarence. She is survived and will be greatly missed by her sister Joan; her loving sons: Ken and $kip; her daughter: Michelle; her grandchildren: Coco, Akua, Aolé, Steuart, Tonya and Robin; her great-grandchildren: Danielle, Amber, Christopher, Brian (Akua), Alicia, Ella, Brendan, Brian (Aolé) and Ryan; her great-great-grandson Amari; her nieces and nephews: Deborah, Valerie, Karen, Karole, Kathleen, Thelma Ann, Arthur, Jr., Craig, Brian (Joan), Ntianu, Naima, Bishop Barbara Lucas, Mother Irene Evans, Bea Jones; as well as countless friends, neighbors, associates and community members.