Gloria Christine Rawson Gustin, age 85, passed away in the early morning hours of September 7, 2021. In spite of her Parkinson’s, she lived a full and vibrant life after her diagnosis 20 years ago. Her light was reflected in her nickname “Glo” given to her by her best friend and “partner-in-crime” Sarah Kurrus whom she met in 1972 in the Harvard/Yale neighborhood where Glo and her husband Frank raised their three daughters.
Born January 16, 1936 in Auburn, Washington to James P. and Mildred Rawson, Gloria graduated from Auburn High School. Armed with a high school diploma, she proceeded to conquer the world. She worked for Rainier Bank in Seattle shortly after graduation. She met her future husband, Frank J. Gustin, at a political fundraiser. She asked him out, and they married shortly thereafter and resided in Seattle. After Frank claimed that “it rained every single day for nine months straight,” he coaxed Glo to move to Utah so he could practice law with his father. They arrived in June 1962 and planned to stay one year. Mom said, “I felt like I was on vacation every day” when describing her first sunny summer living in Utah.
Not one to sit idle for long, it was time for Mom to get to work. She volunteered at the Multiple Sclerosis Society after the heartbreak of losing her beloved sister Joan Knopff, 33, to MS. She worked her way up the ranks to become Executive Director and had a great knack for fundraising. Walker Wallace of Walker Bank convinced Glo to return to banking and gave her a position in new accounts at the bank. When Walker Bank was acquired by First Interstate Bank, Glo was promoted to Vice President of Corporate Accounts. Glo made things happen. In 1979, she snagged the coveted account of the soon-to-be Utah Jazz by greeting the plane of the New Orleans Jazz on the tarmac and introducing herself to Frank Layden. The next day, Frank Layden was in her office setting up the Jazz’s new financial account. She always said, “It never hurts to ask!” Frank and Glo loved hosting parties at their home to help acclimate new Jazz players to Utah.
Glo transitioned into commercial real estate when she went to work at Commerce Properties. In the 1990s, she joined Ninigret Group, brokering deals in the male-dominated industrial real estate sector. “Gustin Road” within Ninigret Park is named after our mother. “Gloria Road” was already taken.
Her stunning beauty on the outside mirrored her inside grace, kindness, humility and gentleness. Not once did her daughters hear her raise her voice. She raised her children with a soft touch. Despite her great accomplishments, Mom often said that her favorite role was being a mother. She guided by example and let her kids choose their own paths.
We associate Mom with the following: frustrating her children by stopping at open houses on the way to Lagoon; shopping for blue-light specials at Kmart after church; popcorn on rainy days; Walker Bank cabin with the Hahn & Gray families; Hidden Splendor ski run at Park City; Sun Valley; dancing at DB Cooper’s; Lamb’s Grill with the Murfers; Jane Fonda workout videos; giving up potato chips for life; chronic ankle sprains from wearing high heels in the snow; hidden painting talent uncovered in her 50s; “garbage time” telephone calls; McDonald’s soft-serve ice cream; making every occasion fun, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas with the Kurrus family and Sunday night dinners; making our dad wait (Dad often exclaimed, “I have spent seven years of my life waiting for your mother!”); and, “Eat your vegetables!”
Gloria’s grandchildren affectionately referred to her as GG and loved tea parties, trips to the dollar store, the “secret jewelry store” (the Sonntag Building), her lipstick and nail polish closet and French toast for breakfast.
Mom had impeccable style—she was always put together elegantly and handled herself with class and dignity. She never left the house without putting on her signature red lipstick. And for those wondering, her secret to perfect skin was Pond’s Cold Cream and rosewater & glycerin.
There are three angels who cared for Mom over the last few years, Glo’s “Dream Team” caretakers: Gloria Saavedra (Gloria #2), Paula Sousa and Andrea Vasquez. Special thanks to Dr. Meg Lunt, her doctor and longtime friend; Dr. Kathleen McKee; Cousin Dixie Porter and family; The Reverend Bradley Wirth, longtime friend and spiritual advisor; Chaplain Doug Opp; Parklane director Matt Hope and the staff and residents at Parklane; her loving companion, Matthew Proser, who provided Gloria’s daughters the satisfaction of imposing a curfew on their mother.
Preceded in death by husband Frank J. Gustin. Survived by daughters Julie Gustin (Lon Huntsman); Susanne “Zannie” Gustin (George Furgis); Tina Gustin (Bryan Bagley); grandchildren Allison Bagley (21), Ella Bagley (19), Michael Furgis (17), Zeke Huntsman (15) & Violet Huntsman (13); the Knopff, McKay and Campbell nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, please contribute to Violet Huntsman’s food drive in Gloria’s memory at utahfoodbank.org. Interment will take place at Mt. Olivet Cemetery and a celebration of life is being planned for a later date.