Gloria Cassity Stargel, 83, of Gainesville passed away Saturday March 2 at Northeast Georgia Medical Center. She was born in Decatur, Georgia and lived a few years in Fitzgerald, Georgia before moving to Gainesville.
Gloria was a graduate of Gainesville High School and attended Brenau University for one year before marrying her childhood sweetheart, Joseph H. Stargel, Jr. They lived in California for a short time while he was serving in the Marine Corps and then returned to Gainesville to raise their family. She returned to Brenau 27 years later and graduated Summa cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work and Journalism. While a student she was inducted into Phi Beta Sigma Honor Society and in 2002 Brenau presented her the Alumnae Professional Achievement Award. In 2003 she was inducted into the Brenau University Alumni of Fame.
Her passion was her family, but running a close second was Christian/Inspirational writing, and as an author has appeared on numerous radio and television programs throughout the United States and Canada. Newspapers have carried many feature articles about her work. Her award-winning articles have been published in dozens of nationally-distributed periodicals, including GUIDEPOSTS Magazine with a circulation of close to 4 million; JOURNAL OF CHRISTIAN NURSING; HOME LIFE; GUIDEPOSTS FOR TEENS; CHRISTIAN READER; and DECISION, published by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
She was a contributing author to thirty-five compilations of true stories including a #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list: Chicken Soup for the Teacher's Soul. Other series include God's Way, Stories for the Heart, God Allows U-turns and Guideposts/Ideals Books.
Gloria became associated with GUIDEPOSTS in 1990 when her manuscript "The Foreclosure" earned her an invitation to attend the much-coveted, all-expense-paid GUIDEPOSTS WORKSHOP in Rye, NY. Her manuscript was one of the fifteen selected from over 4,500 entries. Since then, new manuscripts have earned her choice spots at several mini-workshops in GUIDEPOSTS' New York offices as well as in Seattle, Richmond, Asheville, Washington, D. C., and New Orleans. She became a regular contributor to the magazine.
She also has had two of her own books published, The Healing published in 1982 and republished in 2000, and My Anchor Holds, The Difference Jesus Makes, published in 2008.
The Northeast Georgia Writers Club named Gloria "Writer of the Year" in 1980, 1982, 1983, 1991, 1993, 2001, and 2004. Tyndale House featured Gloria, in 1983, as one of their authors at the Christian Booksellers Association Convention in Washington, DC. She is included in WHO'S WHO IN AMERICAN CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP.
A dedicated church volunteer, she has served at Lakewood Baptist Church as Primary Department Superintendent, Sunbeam Band Director, Women's Missionary Society President, and Women's Missionary Union Director. She also worked for many years with Lakewood's Greeting Ministry and Library Ministry.
An active member of the community as well, Gloria served eight years on the Board of Directors of the Hall County Unit of the American Cancer Society.
In addition to her writing, Gloria has spoken to a variety of audiences -- from churches to civic clubs, from schools to writing workshops. For recreation, she enjoyed reading, aerobics, and live theatre.
Professional affiliations included: member and past president of Northeast Georgia Writers Club; past president of Mu Rho Sigma Sorority for married women college students; life member and past president of local chapter of Beta Sigma Phi International Sorority; member of Progressive Arts Study Club; and of National League of American Pen Women, Atlanta branch.
Gloria was preceded in death by her parents, Woodie Grady Cassity and Mae Bell Thompson Cassity, and her brothers Woodie Grady Cassity, Jr., Randall Quillian Cassity, and Oscar Thompson Cassity.
She is survived by her husband of 65 years (as of Valentine's Day) Joseph H. Stargel, Jr., a former Mayor of Gainesville and Lieutenant Colonel, Retired, United States Marine Corps Reserves. Also surviving are her sons Joseph Randall Stargel of Atlanta and Richard Cassity Stargel, Sr, and his wife Lisa of Sapphire Valley, North Carolina and their son Richard Cassity Stargel, Jr. of Marietta. In addition she is survived by her sister Margaret Cassity Culberson of Dalton and a number of nieces and nephews and other relatives.
The skies now are brilliant, the sunsets