Gloria Stephens

by Bob Mullen

Published August 2005

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TICA's "Great Communicator," Gloria Stephens, is gone.

She passed away in her sleep on July 28, 2005 at her home, but she left an indelible mark in the history and growth of TICA. Although I never saw her doff a chapeaux, Gloria "wore" more hats in the cat fancy than you could display in a Fifth Avenue miller's shop.

Judge of The Year - Twice!

She was an allbreed judge and that's how I met her even in the days before TICA's inception. She became a charter life member as soon as TICA was organized. She lived in Louisiana then, my Southern Miss Magnolia.

For those not familiar with TICA history, Gloria was twice voted as Judge of the Year by the TICA membership, the first time in 1983 and again in 1995. Only two other judges have been so honored, ex-presidents Georgia Morgan and the late Larry Paul.

Teacher & Mentor

Next thing I knew she was director of training and development for new [desperately needed] additions to the Judges List in the early 80's. That job evolved into the position we call Judging Administrator. Gloria took this volunteer job very seriously, as she did everything she set out to do, and did it for almost 18 years.

She had children of her own, but she was known for "mothering" her young charges in training to become, hopefully, TICA judges. We knew she spoiled them a little, but we also knew she wanted very much for each of them to succeed, and she took it very personally when any of them did not make it, for whatever reason.

Computer Guru

After years of shuffling the traditional forms and other reams of paperwork, Gloria discovered the computer along the way.

It became a passion with her. She designed and moderated the initial TICA website. If you had given her her way, she would have dispensed with "snail mail" altogether. We had a hard time convincing her that not everyone in the world [i.e. cat fancy] was the proud owner of a personal computer, that we had to use the U.S. Post Office occasionally for some day-to-day TICA projects.

Reputedly she had a collection of nearly 20 working computers all at one time, housed in a special room in her Oregon home. It boggles the mind to think that one person could be engaged in 20 projects at one time, but if anyone could, it would be Gloria. [We understand that one of those projects was a children's book on feline genetics.] So, it was no surprise that she was named chairman of the Electronics Communication Committee.

Geneticist

Along the way, Gloria volunteered for the Genetics Committee, genetics being a subject dear to her investigative mind. After all, wasn't TICA a genetics-based registry? And so she jumped into the world of genetics with all of her enthusiasm and energy.

Author

She wrote books ["Legacy of the Cat" I and II] that today are prized as virtual textbooks for up and coming judges, as well as other aficionados of the genetic make up of our beautiful felines. She peppered her books with photographs culled from partnering professional photographers to help bring alive to the readers a sense of how the genetics were responsible for the beautiful cats. She even did some illustrations herself when the text called for it.

During her TICA career, Gloria also did a stint on the Judiciary Committee. Another hat.

How many is that? World judge, teacher, author, artist, geneticist, computer whiz, volunteer member on three busy committees, mother and friend. Is it any wonder that we will miss Gloria Stephens?

Oh, yes, she also was an avid fisherman {fisherwoman?}, supposedly one of the reasons she moved to Rogue River -- so she could mountain fish whenever she wanted to. Don't ask us when she squeezed in the time.

"I cannot remember part of my life without cats," Gloria once was quoted as saying.

We like to think of Gloria at a big cat show in the sky, debating the merits of an especially beautiful feline with our late president and judge, Larry Paul. In our scenario, Miss Magnolia wins... again.

We will miss you, Gloria Stephens. Thank goodness we have lots of reminders of you in TICA.


Gloria judging in Japan - in a kimono...

Photos Supplied by:

  • D'Ann Kovic, TICA Allbreed Judge, Inkblotz British Shorthairs
  • Miranda Miller

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