Gladys Elizabeth Henke Peterson passed away May 15, 2020 after suffering from several
illnesses over the past few years. She was born on September 18, 1934 in Breese, Illinois. Gladys was
the oldest of three children born to Laurel and Agnes Henke.
Gladys attended Saint Dominic Catholic School in Breese, Illinois. It is there that her teachers,
Catholic nuns, instilled in her the philosophy “Remember that God loves you.” which guided her
throughout her life. She later attended the University of Illinois. After marrying, she moved to Chicago
and then to the Republic of Panama where she worked while raising her children.
It is during these years in Panama that she worked at the Panama Canal Company as a Marine
Traffic Controller. She found great professional fulfillment in this job, safely guiding large ships through
the Panama Canal. Eventually she retired and moved to Dothan, Alabama and then to Birmingham to be
closer to her son Juan Carlos and his family. She was an active member of St. Mark the Evangelist
Catholic Church, where she sang in the choir.
To Gladys, family was always her main priority. She reveled in the activities and successes of her
children and grandchildren, instilling in them her love of music, travel and reading. Gladys herself was a
skilled crafter, family and friends could always expect to receive gifts of her latest hobby. Those gifts are
now mementos we all share in her loving memory. In the words of her granddaughter Gabriela” I want
to end this by signing off the way we said goodbye after countless phone calls over the years; ‘I love you,
big hug! Take care, God bless. Goodbye for now.’”
Gladys is survived by her sons David (Fatima), Jose (Jackie), Juan Carlos (Maissa), grandchildren
Monica, Gabriela, Mauricio, Phillip, David, Henry, Laura Elizabeth, John James, Joceline, Gabriel, Ana
Elizabeth, Daniel, and great-grandchildren Emma and Charlotte. Also surviving is her brother Adrian
Gladys was predeceased by her parents, sister Lorraine, husband Ralph Peterson, son Mauricio
Craig, and daughter Audrey.
Visitation will be held at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church, 7340 Cahaba Valley Road,
Birmingham, Alabama on Wednesday May 27 at 11:30 a.m. followed by a memorial mass at 12 p.m. At
the conclusion of the Mass, all are welcome to join us for box lunches which will be provided in the
Parish Life Center.
Due to Covid-19 social distancing requirements, we will maintain 6 feet social distancing. Please
bring a mask or face covering. If you prefer not to stay at the conclusion of the Mass, all are welcome to
take the box lunch.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic
Church – Building Fund Memorial (Gladys Henke Peterson)
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Gladys Peterson, please visit our floral store.