Robert L. Gleason
Robert L. Gleason, who cooked his way into the hearts of those he loved, will be remembered at a Mass of the Resurrection on Saturday, Jan. 19. The Mass will be at 11 a.m. at Calvary Hill North Chapel in Dallas. Gleason died Saturday, Dec. 22 at the age of 88. He was 30 years old, a business graduate of Creighton University and the father of three children under 5 when in 1954 his wife Kathleen contracted polio, only months before the Salk vaccine became available. Kathleen spent six months in St. Paul’s Hospital, Dallas, while Gleason directed the Southwest School of Printing in Oak Cliff. For him, it meant rising at dawn, feeding and dressing 4-year-old Cathy, 3-year-old Danny and 2-year-old Patrick, then giving a babysitter instructions before leaving for work. Each day after work, Gleason headed to the hospital. Most days, he stopped for the kids and took them to see Kathleen. Afterward, he’d take the kids home, cook dinner, then bathe and put the kids to bed. In 1959 and 1961, daughters Margaret and Alice were born. By that time, Gleason had learned to cook, and that led not only to dinner, but things like breakfast picnics, Saturday afternoon barbecues (sauce made with Jax beer) and rice fritters at church coffee hours. Later in Ennis, where Gleason was a vice president of Ennis Business Forms, he often began the day by making pancakes, waffles or scrambled eggs for his tribe. Weekends often meant French bread, boeuf bourguignon and buttermilk pie. For his daughter Cathy’s wedding, Gleason made all the hors d’oeuvres; for his daughter Margaret’s wedding, he made three large carrot cakes. Over the years, which included Gleason’s work as a sales representative for Oklahoma Graphics, many friends ate at the Gleason table or received bread he had baked. He understood food as communion, as it cured hungers of both body and soul. Gleason is survived by his wife Kathleen; his children Cathy O’Donnell (Matt); Dan (Karen); Pat (Laurel); Margaret Saldaña (Abel) and the late Alice Odom (Mike). He also had eight grandchildren, including the late Alyssa Margaret Saldaña, as well as six great-grandchildren and a passel of good, good friends. Donations may be made to the Notre Dame India Mission, 13000 Auburn Road, Chardon, Ohio, 44024.