WILMINGTON — Born in Carnegie, Penn., Gladys McDonough grew up in the steel town of Weirton, West Virginia. She was the second of five daughters born to Leonore Magdalene and John Joseph McDonough.
Of the sisters, Mae Mott, Laverne Taylor, and Lenore Rodgers predeceased Gladys. The youngest of the sisters, Alice, lives in Weirton, WV with her husband, Arthur Miser.
Gladys graduated with her RN degree from the Wheeling Hospital School of Nursing in Wheeling, W.V. She met and married Dr. James Dickie while he was a doing a medical internship in Wheeling. Her lack of cooking skills at the beginning of their marriage generated some wonderful family stories about Gladys’ adventures in the kitchen. Her husband Jimmie, her main “guinea pig,” showed great humor, patience, and kindness as she learned to navigate the pots and pans. He was genuinely complementary of meals she produced throughout their lives together.
Gladys and Jimmie, with a young daughter in tow, moved to Wilmington in 1946 when he returned to his birthplace to set up a general medical practice. Gladys assisted Jimmy in his office until the birth of their second child in 1948. Attending to three active children and volunteering in the community kept her nursing skills sharp, and she made sure her nursing license was current. She participated with medical teams to update vaccinations and administer polio shots for children in the public schools. When her children had grown up and moved away, she helped staff the newly established Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the New Hanover Memorial Hospital.
Gladys and Jimmie enjoyed playing golf and socializing at the Cape Fear Country Club, one of their favorite places to spend time with friends. Gladys was a member of CFCC for more than 50 years.
This feisty, spirited woman lived on in the family home for 25 years after Jimmie’s untimely death. From the front porch of her house on Wayne Drive, she greeted neighbors and friends who stopped to visit. She was a great favorite in the neighborhood, encouraging neighbors to gather annually for a picnic on the vacant lot next door known as “Dickie Hill.” It became an immensely popular event, with potluck dishes, music, dancing, juggling demonstrations, and magic tricks.
Following a series of falls and broken bones in both legs, Gladys elected to stay in Wilmington rather than uprooting to be nearer to her far-flung children. She lived at Brightmore’s Kempton assisted living facility in Wilmington until another bad fall called for extended nursing care. She spent her final months at Trinity Grove, where she was well cared for until she died at the age of 95.
Mrs. Dickie is survived by three of her four children and their spouses: Sheila Dickie Reed and her husband, Dr. William H. Reed, of Charlottesville, Va.; James W. Dickie, Jr., of Houston, Texas; and Richard John Dickie and his wife, Sarah Bell Dickie, of Raleigh, N.C. Kathy Alice Dickie, the youngest child, died in early infancy.
In addition to her children, Gladys was proud of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Thomas Reed and his wife, Dr. Nevada Reed, live in Hudson Ohio. Ashley, Alden, Austin and Andrew are their children. Dr. Robert Reed and his wife, Dr. Anna Reed are the parents of Isabel, Madeline, and Josephine. They live in Baltimore, Md.
A graveside service will be held at 11am, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, at Oakdale Cemetery, 520 N. 15th Street, Wilmington, NC 28401.
If you wish to make a donation in Gladys’ memory, please consider the Dr. James W. Dickie Scholarship for Nursing, UNCW, which Gladys founded, or contribute to any charity of your choice.