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Gloria Jeanette Sterling Kilpatrick

Gloria Jeanette Sterling Kilpatrick passed away on Sunday, 3 November 2019 after a short courageous battle with cancer. She was born September 17, 1937, in Gloucester, Virginia, to parents, Ethel Williams Sterling and James Edward “Ed” Sterling Sr. Gloria married Ross Donovan Kilpatrick, the love of her life, in 1955, and they joyfully celebrated 65 years of marriage. They were blessed with three children, son, Robert Drew Kilpatrick; daughter, Donna Kilpatrick Rowe (John), and son, Neil Donovan Kilpatrick. Tragically, daughter Karla Jeanne Kilpatrick died as an infant. Descendants also include her beloved four grandchildren, Missy Rowe Inmon and Ashley Rowe Majors and Scott and Ryan Kilpatrick, all of whom married and had seven great-grandchildren Gloria loved so dearly. Her surviving siblings are Audrey Sterling Waddle (Travis), Nelda Sterling Carter (Bill), and Sandra Sterling Owens (James). Gloria was preceded in death by her parents, and by sister, Joan Sterling German, and brother, James Edward “J.E.” Sterling Jr.

Gloria and Ross moved frequently due to his career in the United States Air Force, but created family traditions wherever they lived. Memories of opening Christmas gifts under a star topped Christmas tree with blinking lights provide joyful recollections for her family. She loved to cook dishes that created traditions, such as Yorkshire pudding for dinner and sausage gravy for breakfast, using Ross’s grandmother’s recipe. Gloria and Ross traveled extensively, with adventures in Turkey, Germany, Hawaii and Egypt, the latter the site of a memorable camel race for the two of them.

Gloria’s professional life was one of progressive responsibility and achievement. In her early career, she served as secretary for the Base Commander at Wheeling AFB, Tripoli, Libya, and for two Wing Commanders at Bentwaters AFB, England. When Gloria and Ross returned to the U.S., she became the Administrative Assistant for the Montgomery Lions Club. She pursued further education, graduating from Prince Institute of Professional Studies in Montgomery, Alabama, subsequently serving as a court reporter for Richard Wilson and Associates. Gloria’s next professional venture was as a founding partner in the court reporting firm of Dunn, King, Kilpatrick and Livingston, from which she retired in 1989.

Gloria sought intellectual challenge throughout her life and brought focus to every aspect of life, whether personal or professional. Those who knew her best outside family were her colleagues at duplicate bridge. Gloria and Ross learned to play bridge early in their marriage and Gloria was immediately intrigued by the demanding game. With dedication and work, she became a remarkably skilled player who truly loved and understood the game, achieving the rare honor to be titled as an Emerald Life Master in the ACBL. She brought to bridge the same competitive intensity that characterized her life but was notably generous in sharing her knowledge by formal teaching and by example with other players, partners and opponents. She competed vigorously to win, but consistently taught: “Be 100% ethical.”

Gloria was a person of impact wherever she lived. Her legacy to her family, her friends and her bridge colleagues was by example. She personified her core belief that dreams could be achieved if pursued with passion, discipline and integrity. Those characteristics were the bedrock values of Gloria Kilpatrick. She will be dearly missed. It is her husband’s fervent wish that when she enters the Gates of Heaven she will be escorted to a bridge table at which three of her oldest and most loved partners are seated waiting for her to begin a new game.