On February 29, 2024, while enveloped in the bounteous affections of her beloved family, Gloria Jean Thacker (née Madsen) completed her mission of this life and returned to her Father in Heaven. She did so buoyed by her faith that she was leaving to be reunited with her sweetheart, Nile, ending the heartache she had endured since his death fourteen months prior. Gloria lived a life of unwavering tenderness and service to all, truly exemplifying what it means to “Love one another.” In her last hours, she told her children, “I am not afraid.” Those with her could see clearly that this was true, and all knew that the comfort in her soul was well earned. Gloria is survived by six siblings: Arnold Lloyd Madsen, Carolyn May Ash, Patricia Jo Carbajal, Brian Alfred Madsen, Loralie Madsen May, Anna Martina Anderson; and her four children and their spouses: Marilee and Eduard van Stam, Jeffrey and Suzanne Thacker, Allen Thacker, Julianna and Jason Merrill, and Jillian Wilson. Gloria was also a warm light in the lives of her twelve grandchildren: Katelyn, Brooklyn, Emily, Daxon, Marcel, Ryker, Beau, Jesse, Justin, Zaylee, Finn, and Priya.

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Gloria was born on January 5, 1949, in Provo, Utah, to Lyman Alfred and Marguerite Wagstaff Madsen. She was the second of eight children. Her older sister, Loretta Anne, passed away before Gloria’s first birthday, making Gloria the de facto eldest sibling to the rest of the family. As a child, she delighted in spending time at her grandparents’ farm in Kamas, Utah, where she would help with the cows, care for the chickens, and lend a hand in any way she could. It was here that she developed a love for the outdoors that would stand through the rest of her life.

Though the atmosphere of the farm was dear to her, the things she loved most about these times were the family experiences and the connection they created. From a young age, family was Gloria’s greatest passion. When her parents were especially busy with the family business, she acted as a second mother to her younger siblings, always watching over them and always concerned for their well being. Gloria’s father co-owned a dry cleaning and tailoring business, and Gloria was employed there during her teenage years. She became an expert at sewing and quilting. She maintained those skills throughout her life, and found tremendous joy in that work. Young Gloria also loved music, was a skilled pianist and violinist, and became a member of the Utah Valley Youth Symphony.

After graduating from Provo High School, Gloria attended BYU before serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Florida South Mission. She cherished her time as a missionary, and found friendships that she maintained for the rest of her life. At one point during her mission, she noticed that she was being transferred and given new missionary companions much more frequently that other missionaries, and she became concerned that this was because she was not doing as well as she should have been. When she spoke with her mission president about her concerns, he informed her that the reason for all these changes was because they had noticed that Gloria was able to get along with and work well with people that other missionaries had been struggling to work with. They had been utilizing Gloria’s influence to make better missionaries. Gloria’s extraordinary interpersonal skills were something that many others would take note of throughout her years.

After her mission, Gloria returned to BYU, and it was there that she met and fell in love with Claude Nile Thacker. Nile knew right away that he needed to spend more time with Gloria, and he actually transferred from Salt Lake Community College to Utah Technical College just to be closer and pursue a relationship with her. Gloria was volunteering at the Provo Temple at the time, and Nile started waiting for her to finish her shift almost every week so they could do a temple session together afterwards. On one of these days, as they entered the temple, Nile pulled Gloria aside into an office and asked her to marry him. She said she knew right away that he was the man she was meant to be with. They were married on June 1, 1974, and always loved each other deeply and completely.

The home that Gloria grew up in had always been open to those who needed extra help for any reason, and this was the spirit Gloria and Nile decided they wanted for their own home. Throughout their years together, they took in scores of people in need of support—many members of their extended families, exchange students, neighbors, and anyone else they knew of who could use their care were blended into the household. For several years, they worked with the foster care system and took temporary custody of children in situations that necessitated their urgent relocation while arrangements were made for longer-term placement with foster families. They lived with the Thackers sometimes for days, sometimes for weeks, and Gloria and Nile often had less than an hour’s notice before the children were brought to their door. These children had been rescued from traumatic and heartbreaking situations, and Gloria’s family lovingly accepted the challenge of being the first to minister to their injured hearts.

Gloria had a passion for learning, and when her children got older she decided to complete the courses necessary for a teaching job. Once certified, she ran the computer lab at Pleasant Green Elementary School, and later at Northlake Elementary School. She loved the opportunity to work with the children, and they loved her.

To those who knew Gloria, what stood out most was her absolute love for everyone, regardless of their mistakes, background, or anything else. She recently told her daughter, Marilee, that the reason so many of the people who lived with their family were from other countries, cultures, races, and circumstances was because she and Nile wanted to make sure their children grew up without prejudice. They wanted their children to respond to those who were different with love and curiosity, not fear. Gloria worked hard to nurture her relationships, which were too numerous to count. If anyone needed a compassionate ear or an empathetic word, they knew they could count on Gloria to be there for them. She was genuine, incredibly strong, and lived with integrity. She was completely without guile.

Days before her passing, one of Gloria’s sisters called her and asked her how she was doing. Gloria responded, “I love my life.” She proceeded to expound on the things about her life that she loved, most of which centered on her family. She modeled for her children and for all who knew her how to live in order to have that kind of contentment at the end of our lives. Her lovely presence will be painfully missed, but her influence is wide and will impact generations.

Gloria’s funeral will be held on Saturday, March 9, 2024, at 11:00 a.m. at the LDS Church building located at 4842 West Vermillion Drive, South Jordan, Utah. The family will also hold a viewing the day before, March 8, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the same location. Gloria will be interred next to her beloved Nile at the Marion Cemetery, located at 832 E. 2700 N., Kamas, Utah. A graveside service will be held on March 9 at 3:30 p.m.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, Gloria’s family asks that donations be made to Tiny Tim’s Foundation For Kids, an organization Nile and Gloria cared deeply about and were heavily involved with in the last few years of their lives. Donations can be made at tinytimstoys.org/donate.

Services

Viewing

Friday, Mar. 08, 2024 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
LDS Church building
4842 West Vermillion Drive
South Jordan, UT 84009

Funeral Service

Saturday, Mar. 09, 2024 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
LDS Church building
4842 West Vermillion Drive
South Jordan, UT 84009

Graveside Service

Saturday, Mar. 09, 2024 3:30 PM - 4:00 PM
Marion Cemetery
832 E 2700 N
Kamas, UT 84036

Life Story Info

Post Date

Mar 05, 2024

Contribute

“In lieu of flowers...”

tinytimstoys.org/donate

Personal Info

Age

75
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NEXT Cindy Lou Poliska Cindy Lou Poliska

Guestbook

Gloria and I grew up together in the Provo 20th ward. We graduated from Provo High together in 1967 and we both went to BYU. She was my roommate in 1969 at Miller apartments.

We went through young womens together and also did 4H together. I spent many hours in her home as her mom was our 4H leader. I learned many cooking and sewing skills from Marguerite. The Madsen family were stalwarts in our ward. They were humble, loving people and I loved being in their home.

Even though after my marriage, our paths did not cross. I still consider her one of my best friends and I am so sad I did not know she had passed I would have been at her funeral. I have moved out of Utah county and now live in Sanpete County in Fairview, UT. I send my love and condolences to her siblings and her family.

Laura Tuttle Erickson Mar 25, 2024

We have known Nile and Gloria for over 50-years and to have been friends with such great, Christ like people has been such a privilege. Gloria was such a blessing to Nile and I am sure their reunion was sweet and tender. Gloria was such a marvelous person and a light to all who she touched. I only hope I can become as gentle, kind and gracious as she is.

John Sims Mar 11, 2024

We have known Nile and Gloria for over 50-years and to have been friends with such great, Christ like people has been such a privilege. Gloria was such a blessing to Nile and I am sure their reunion was sweet and tender. Gloria was such a marvelous person and a light to all who she touched. I only hope I can become as gentle, kind and gracious as she is.

John Sims Mar 11, 2024

Oh, how I will miss Gloria! We were so close as kids growing up. In the summertime, she would often come spend time at the farm and help us with the haying and other farm chores, and we would hang out with our cousin Kathy. We would have picnics out under the trees with sack lunches that our grandma fixed for us, with sandwiches, kool-aid in corked soda pop bottles and some of her delicious homemade cookies. Then I would take my turn and go spend a week or two with her family the "city". I helped her babysit her siblings or the neighbor's kids, and one summer we had a little job picking cherries at a nearby orchard. As I remember, I don't think their home had air conditioning, so the summers could be quite hot in the evenings. Her bedroom was upstairs, so we would opt to sleep downstairs in the living room on the hide-a-bed, with the front door open to catch any breeze that might cool us off.

After high school, we were roommates in college at BYU for a couple of years. While at BYU I also had the opportunity to work at Madsen Cleaners for a few years. We had the absolute-best Family Home Evening group ever, many of whom we have kept in touch with over the years. I'm sure Gloria inherited her loving, open heart from her parents, because their home was also open to many others over the years, and our FHE group was often welcomed into their home for Sunday dinners, parties and games. Gloria and Nile got engaged while I was on my mission. When I got her letter saying she was engaged to Nile Thacker, I was so excited and happy for them because Nile had been a good friend of mine growing up, and I couldn't think of anyone better for her to marry than Nile. They will both be sorely missed, but I am happy that she is back in her eternal home with him now. My deepest condolences go out to all the Madsen and Thacker families. Love, Dorothy Laney

Dorothy Laney Mar 08, 2024

Oh, how I will miss Gloria! We were so close as kids growing up. In the summertime, she would often come spend time at the farm and help us with the haying and other farm chores, and we would hang out with our cousin Kathy. We would have picnics out under the trees with sack lunches that our grandma fixed for us, with sandwiches, kool-aid in corked soda pop bottles and some of her delicious homemade cookies. Then I would take my turn and go spend a week or two with her family the "city". I helped her babysit her siblings or the neighbor's kids, and one summer we had a little job picking cherries at a nearby orchard. As I remember, I don't think their home had air conditioning, so the summers could be quite hot in the evenings. Her bedroom was upstairs, so we would opt to sleep downstairs in the living room on the hide-a-bed, with the front door open to catch any breeze that might cool us off.

After high school, we were roommates in college at BYU for a couple of years. While at BYU I also had the opportunity to work at Madsen Cleaners for a few years. We had the absolute-best Family Home Evening group ever, many of whom we have kept in touch with over the years. I'm sure Gloria inherited her loving, open heart from her parents, because their home was also open to many others over the years, and our FHE group was often welcomed into their home for Sunday dinners, parties and games. Gloria and Nile got engaged while I was on my mission. When I got her letter saying she was engaged to Nile Thacker, I was so excited and happy for them because Nile had been a good friend of mine growing up, and I couldn't think of anyone better for her to marry than Nile. They will both be sorely missed, but I am happy that she is back in her eternal home with him now. My deepest condolences go out to all the Madsen and Thacker families. Love, Dorothy Laney

Dorothy Laney Mar 07, 2024

Oh, how I will miss Gloria! We were so close as kids growing up. In the summertime, she would often come spend time at the farm and help us with the haying and other farm chores, and we would hang out with our cousin Kathy. We would have picnics out under the trees with sack lunches that our grandma fixed for us, with sandwiches, kool-aid in corked soda pop bottles and some of her delicious homemade cookies. Then I would take my turn and go spend a week or two with her family the "city". I helped her babysit her siblings or the neighbor's kids, and one summer we had a little job picking cherries at a nearby orchard. As I remember, I don't think their home had air conditioning, so the summers could be quite hot in the evenings. Her bedroom was upstairs, so we would opt to sleep downstairs in the living room on the hide-a-bed, with the front door open to catch any breeze that might cool us off.

After high school, we were roommates in college at BYU for a couple of years. While at BYU I also had the opportunity to work at Madsen Cleaners for a few years. We had the absolute-best Family Home Evening group ever, many of whom we have kept in touch with over the years. I'm sure Gloria inherited her loving, open heart from her parents, because their home was also open to many others over the years, and our FHE group was often welcomed into their home for Sunday dinners, parties and games. Gloria and Nile got engaged while I was on my mission. When I got her letter saying she was engaged to Nile Thacker, I was so excited and happy for them because Nile had been a good friend of mine growing up, and I couldn't think of anyone better for her to marry than Nile. They will both be sorely missed, but I am happy that she is back in her eternal home with him now. My deepest condolences go out to all the Madsen and Thacker families. Love, Dorothy Laney

Dorothy Laney Mar 07, 2024

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