Gladys Elliott recently celebrated her 99th birthday during a gathering that included approximately 30 guests at the Waukena Church.
The matriarch of her northern Corcoran community, Elliott has a long list of community projects involvement to her credit. She may best be remembered for her efforts to bring city services to her neighborhood, located in the area of Nice and 6 1/2 avenues. Commonly known to old timers as Bootville, the unincorporated county fringe area was without its own gas supply, water and sewer when Gladys went to work on the issue.
She tirelessly lobbied local politicians for the services and was rewarded when Kings County received a huge grant to run sewer and water lines to the area in the early 1970’s. For those efforts, she was recognized as Corcoran’s woman of the year in 1978.
She is still a formidable political force in the community, with many local politicians seeking her endorsement and advice.
A native of Richmond in the Bay Area, Gladys was reared in Louisiana. She migrated back to California and settled in the Los Angeles area after graduating from high school. She met her husband there and spent time volunteering at both a childrens’ and county hospital.
Due to some health issues, her doctor recommended she move “somewhere hot,” which brought she and husband Grady to Corcorn in 1972. It was not long before a representative from the board of supervisors tasked Gladys with cleaning up the downtrodden area in which the family lived.
She made that a priority. Now, people who remember the old neighborhood find it indeed cleaned up and an attractive area in which to buy and build their homes. One of her earlier neighbors, in fact, received a home for which Gladys lobbied.
Living in a rundown house, the 75-year-old woman received a newer abode thanks to a donation from the Verboon family. She was able to live out the remainder of her life in a modern, clean and upgraded residence.
Honoring her legacy as well as her birthday, her guests included most of her neighbors, as well as family members who traveled up from Los Angeles for the party. Still living on her own, she joked that the strategic invite of family should guarantee that her nieces will take care of her in “my old age.”
The party was hosted by her next door neighbor, Karen Cribbs.