Gloria Nunn Oliver passed away in Nashville, TN on February 10th, 2023, at the age of 100.
Born in Atlanta, Georgia October 10th, 1922, Gloria Nunn was the eldest daughter of Inman Fuller Nunn and Willie Lou (Post) Nunn, married April 9th, 1920. The Nunn & Fuller names are prominent in Georgia’s history (i.e., Senator Sam Nunn and William Allen Fuller/Civil War) and have been traced to Virginia in the 1770s. Traveling to Georgia in the early 1800s, these families took residence in Rutledge, due west of Atlanta. Many family members including Inman & Willie Lou are buried in Rutledge at a private family cemetery which is still maintained today.
Gloria spent most of her childhood in Atlanta. Life was good during the Roaring 20s. She and her schoolmate, Dorothy Ann, remained lifelong friends chatting frequently on the phone about dancing, school, family and their 90+ year relationship. Gloria lived during Prohibition and remembered curiously the occasional ‘knock at the door’ from the local bootlegger.
The 1930s brought The Great Depression, and even though Gloria didn’t suffer like many, she does remember seeing men wandering the streets looking for work and food. However, there were downsides for the family since her father, an accountant, was forced to travel for employment. Moving soon became a way of life. She recalled not going to the same high school for 4 years. They finally settled in Southern California where she turned 18.
In 1943 at 21, Gloria received her associate degree from Pasadena Junior College with plans to continue her education. Unfortunately, this was put on hold due to her father’s debilitating stroke and passing in 1946. As WWII raged on in the Pacific, she unexpectedly met her future husband, Alfred Bruce Oliver, when he came by to do a termite inspection on their home. Alfred, owner of A.B. Oliver Termite Company, kept coming back to visit time and again and usually was invited for dinner. Handsome, nice clothes, car, charming and available, Gloria really didn’t take notice, but did wonder why he kept showing up. She recalled, “I thought he was interested in Barbara (Gloria’s younger sister)!” Al on the other hand was smitten. Gloria (21) and Alfred (34) were married on April 9th, 1944 and had two children, Leslie Ann in 1945 and Lori Lee in 1952. On a trip to San Francisco in the late 1940s, Al and Gloria fell in love with the Bay Area and re-located.
At 28 Gloria began her working career in the accounting department at Hayward Recreation and Park District (1950-1970). She quickly rose to Accounting Supervisor. At 45 she pursued her lifelong dream and received a Bachelor of Science Degree/Business Administration from California State College/Hayward in 1967.
In 1970 she was offered the position of Supervisor-Accounts Receivable with Singer Business Machines in San Leandro, CA, a subsidiary of TRW, Inc./New Jersey. During her 5-year tenure she was most proud of opening many doors for women of all ethnicities who were then able to rise within the company. A major feat during the 1970s.
Stepping back to 1956, Al and Gloria purchased their first family home at 937 Estudillo Avenue, San Leandro. This was a life changing moment for them. The property was one of two estate homes constructed in San Leandro during the early 1900s. Built by a retired Civil War army captain, this 4-story colonial had an expansive front porch, columns, balcony, conservatory, a functioning well, copious amounts of fruit trees and had been paired down to (1/2) acre to purchase. This was quite unique from most California homes. However, it was a diamond in the rough, needing much love and vision. Within 5 years Al and Gloria were able to painstakingly bring this old, tired dwelling to its original glory. The restoration was the talk of San Leandro and featured in a local ‘Parade of Homes’ tour visited by hundreds of curious guests. Gloria and Al loved that home. We all miss it to this day.
Dark and difficult days came with the passing of Alfred Bruce Oliver, May 9th, 1973. At 50 Gloria was faced with losing her husband and deciding what to do with Al’s business. Then in 1974 Singer announced the closing of their San Leandro division to consolidation with TRW/NJ.
In 1975 Gloria was offered the position of Accounts Receivable Manager with TRW. With much hesitation, she was encouraged that this would be a good opportunity. Once on site, she discovered that she was the only female manager in a male dominated environment. Outspoken, articulate and able to develop new training systems, she established her position. Recognized for her training programs she was then asked to create a new division and awarded the advancement of Training Manager/Finance Department Customer Service Division (1980-1983). Her final post was Finance Analyst/Customer Service Division (1983-1986). She retired in 1986.
From not knowing a soul to purchasing a condo in Pompton Lakes Gloria had started a new life. She loved living in New Jersey and organized many outings for her single gal friends. One of their favorites was season tickets to Paper Mill Playhouse/NJ. Gloria kept quite the social calendar that included trips to Europe, Canada, Hawaii, Alaska, California and others in the States.
At 60 she attended Montclair State College and in 1985 received her Master’s in Supervision & Administration graduating with honors from Phi Kappa Phi. Additional awards include: 1984/1985 Marquis Who’s Who Book of American Women, National Association of Female Executives and the American Society for Training and Development. In the 1980s she expanded her love of training as a faculty member for Passaic County Community College. With life established in New Jersey, she eventually sold her beloved home in San Leandro.
In 1996 she made another big move and headed south to be with her family in Nashville, TN. While helping to raise grandchildren, Taylor Noles Guardino and Hallie Spencer Guardino, Gloria worked at Caster Knott, Macy’s, Dillard’s as well as baby-sitting for multiple families within the neighborhood. As a member of the Christian Science Mother Church, she enjoyed attending the First Church of Christ, Scientist here in Nashville.
Gloria lived longer than most and experienced the world from an incredible perspective. She was loved by everyone who met her and showered her friendship to all. Always outspoken, always the conversationalist, always curious, always wanting the best for everyone she met, her spirit lives on in our hearts.
Gloria was proceeded in death by her loving husband Alfred Bruce Oliver, and her devoted parents Inman Fuller Nunn and Billie (Willie Lou) Nunn, her sister Barbara Howell and brother-in-law Don Howell from Atlanta, GA.
Gloria is survived by her daughters Leslie Ann Oliver and Lori (Lee) Oliver Guardino, son-in-law Thomas Anthony Guardino, granddaughter Taylor (Noles) Guardino Engle, husband Zachary Engle, granddaughter Hallie Spencer Guardino and her fiancé Joshua Goldstein.
A private Celebration of Life will be held in May 7th, 2023.
You can still show your love by plant a tree in memory of Gloria Nunn Oliver or by giving to the Save The Children https://www.savethechildren.org/ in her honor.