Gloria Alma Kaminski, 91, passed away peacefully at her home of 59 years, in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, on May 20, 2023, surrounded by her loving daughters Kathryn and Karyn Kaminski, and sister-in-law Janice LeBel. Gloria was the sunshine of warmth, light and love to all within her rays.
Gloria was born in Salem, Massachusetts on August 12, 1931, to Rose and Aime LeBel. In her childhood, Gloria loved performing and entertaining. Her enthusiastic spirit led a dancing teacher to invite her to participate in the dance program with scholarship assistance, and throughout grade school, Gloria was often one of the lead performers in school theatrical performances. Gloria was athletic in her youth: a cheerleader in high school, and a Lifeguard and swimming instructor on summer breaks throughout college. Gloria graduated from North Adams Teachers State College. She actively participated in college life, as a member of the Student Council and of the Drama, Glee, and Current Events clubs. She was elected House Council President in her senior year and was nominated to Who's Who Among Students In American Universities and Colleges, 1952 - 1953. Gloria graduated in 1953 with the desire to teach at the middle or high school level. She was a teacher for 42 years. She often remarked that teaching was a profession which called to her and which she loved, and that she had never felt a desire to do any other type of work. When Gloria was teaching, her childhood enjoyment of performing was echoed in plays, such as "the Wizard of Oz", that she adapted and wrote for her class to perform for the community. After settling in Jaffrey with her husband and daughters, she taught 6th grade for thirty years at Jaffrey Elementary School and then at the Jaffrey/Rindge Middle School. Many town children, and then their children, passed through "Mrs.K's" classroom over the span of her years as 6th grade teacher. In a tradition which Gloria had highlighted with students, some of her former students, when they had moved on to upper grades, would bring her May Baskets of flowers; one such student reinstating the tradition, and delivering May flowers to "Mrs. K" for a number of years when Gloria was in her eighties and on up to this year.
Gloria married Bernard (Ben) Kaminski, a high school classmate and the love of her life, on August 23, 1953. In June 1955 they had their first daughter Kathryn, and in May 1959, their second daughter Karyn. The family arrived in Jaffrey in February 1964, when Ben became Conant High School Principal. Gloria and her husband competed in the Jaffrey Tennis Tournament for several years, sometimes hosting the finals on their home court. Ben predeceased Gloria in 2015, but not before they had many years together in their retirement, taking trips to the ocean, dining out, antiquing, and spending time with their family and friends.
Gloria enjoyed nature, taking walks to one of her favorite spots--"Devil's Dip"-- a small, secluded pond, surrounded by woods and wildflowers. Gloria was known for her warmth, open-mindedness, and non-judgmental listening ear. Her wonderful sense of humor remained with her throughout her life. She unconditionally loved her family, her children, her grandchildren, her extended family, and it was without hesitation that she welcomed new members to her family (including pets) as they joined in!
Gloria will be greatly missed by her loving family, and by those who had an opportunity to share any amount of time with her. She is survived by her daughters Kathryn Kaminski of Jaffrey NH, Karyn Kaminski and her partner Jeffrey Putnam of Alstead NH, her grandson Timothy Putnam and partner Kate Aiken of Richmond VT, and grandson Russell Putnam of Alstead NH.
She is survived, too, by niece Alyssa LeBel-Kaye and family of Marblehead MA, great-niece Amy Cavilla and family of South Hamilton MA, brother-in-law Robert Kaminski and family of Litchfield, CT, and sister-in-law Janice LeBel of Salem MA.