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Colonel Gloria Mason Diggs was born on June 7, 1922 in Baltimore, Maryland. She died peacefully on Thursday, August 25, 2022 with her family by her side. She moved to Onemo in Mathews, Virginia, when she was six months old. Her loving parents, Bernard Wesley Diggs Sr. and Pattie Spence Diggs and her sister, Mary Virginia Diggs Burroughs, predeceased her. She is survived by her brother, Bernard Wesley Diggs Jr. of Virginia Beach; her niece, Robin Diggs Campbell (Vince) and family of Chesapeake, Steven Wesley Diggs and family of Virginia Beach, and Ann Diggs Rivenbark (Henry) of Chesapeake.

Gloria served our country honorably as a nurse in the U.S. Army for 30 years. She decided early on to devote hard work and dedication to her career at a time when most women were marrying, starting and caring for families. Gloria reached the rank of Colonel and because of this, we are sure she paved the way for women to excel and succeed in the militaries. During her career, she traveled all over the world and loved every minute of it. Except for her home in Mathews, her favorite place was Okinawa, Japan. She enjoyed the culture, the food and the people. One of her favorite pastimes was picking up treasures left on the beaches by the beautiful ocean.

The phrase “Carpe diem” is best suited to describe how Gloria lived her 100 years on this earth–she seized life by never wasting a minute of it.

Gloria was a member of the Gem and Mineral Society of Virginia. She would share “digs” with other members in remote nooks and crannies of the U.S. and then return to polish, shape and make beautiful jewelry to share with others. She was a wild bird transporter for The Wildlife Center of Virginia and a passionate supporter of The Nature Conservancy. She participated in the Mathews Farmers’ Market on Saturdays and the annual Mathews Market Days. She worked endlessly on braided rugs, cornhusk rugs and hats, quilting and many other handcrafts.

Gloria immersed herself in nature and all it had to offer–from the wild turkeys, deer and fox in her yard to the plethora of birds she seemed to know everything about. She loved the hummingbirds circling her in the summer months while she tended her vegetable and herb gardens and rounded up wild asparagus in the yard. It was amazing to watch her make her way to the shore at 90 years of age to gather oysters, clean, shuck and have them for supper.
Gloria packed so much into her time here on earth; it would have taken the rest of us two of her lifetimes to accomplish!

We will miss her every day but we will find her in every flower and four-legged friend in nature. We love you, Gloria–you will be sorely missed!

A celebration of Gloria’s life will be held at Christ Episcopal Church, 320 Williams Wharf Road, Mathews, Va. 23109 at 11 a.m. on Sept. 17, 2022.

You may express condolences to the family at

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in memory of Gloria Diggs to the Mathews County Foundation–The Fund for Mathews, 138 Main Street, Mathews, Va. 23109/804.725.3454/


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