Home  | About  | Contact
Whitesitt Funeral Home
& Cremation Service

Family Owned & Operated Since 1902
314 Church St. | P.O. Box 12
Stevensville, Montana, 59870
Phone 406-777-5711 | Fax 406-777-0181
Email: whitesittfh@gmail.com

Gloria Rebecca (Hightower) Gandara

Born: Thu., Jul. 3, 1941
Died: Thu., Jun. 20, 2019

Vigil Service

7:00 PM Wed., Jul. 10, 2019
Location: St. Mary's Mission Parish

Mass of Christian Burial

11:00 AM Thu., Jul. 11, 2019
Location: St. Mary's Mission Parish

Print Obituary   Home Page All Obituaries


Santa Anna, CA - Gloria Rebecca Gandara (Hightower) was born on July 3rd, 1941 in Corvallis, Montana and raised on the Bitterroot Stock Farm during the sugar beet era in Bitterroot Valley. On June 20th, 2019 she passed peacefully into God's loving arms surrounded by family in Santa Ana, California. Gloria was a Hamilton High School cheerleader, graduating in 1959. She attended dental hygienist school in Minneapolis, Minnesota before moving to Washington D.C. where she was employed by the Department of Defense in a secretarial pool. There she met her husband, Collin James Hightower Sr. Together they moved to the Boulder, Colorado area where they raised their two loving children, Lisa Hightower and Collin Hightower Jr. Her thesis paper took her to Uganda to write a program to provide cell phone infrastructure in developing countries. She worked at Mountain Bell for years as a computer analyst during the legal split up of the company, found herself having to move from Colorado. Gloria enjoyed a challenge and moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 1996 to work for AT&T and later for Verizon Wireless as a Computer Systems Technician. She completed her PhD in Telecommunications in 2011 from Argosy University in Atlanta. In December of 2018, she retired from Verizon. During the summer of 2016, Gloria was diagnosed with lung cancer and fought it bravely until her death. She will be remembered fondly for her high energy, love of adventure, exuberance, dancing, and generosity. She loved animals and the family was blessed with many pets that came about due to her purchasing multiple cats, dogs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, and goats. Her passions included cruising in the Caribbean, ballet, making memory books for her class reunions, and creating calendars and albums for the family. She loved her family and celebrated with them regularly, returning to Montana whenever she could. She was a Major in Civil Air Patrol. She ran the administrative wing of the group and coordinated search and rescue efforts. She enjoyed reaching out to the girls in the neighborhood, providing mentorship and leadership. Gloria always tried to find a way of giving back to her community. Gloria is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Lisa and Mike Schaefer, son and daughter-in-law, Collin Jr. and Linda Hightower, and grandchildren, Lindsey and Reid Hightower. She is also survived by her mother, Donna Gandara, sister and brother-in-law Gail and Donald Scott, sister Dolores Gandara, sister and brother-in-law Virginia and Michael Baldwin, brother James D. Gandara, sister and brother-in-law Rosanne and Dale Janes and twelve nieces and nephews, ten great nieces and nephews plus a large extended family. She was preceded in death by her father James J. Gandara, ex-husband Collin James Hightower Sr., loving uncle and aunt Sylvester and Corrina Gandara, and sister-in-law Corina Gandara. There will be a candlelight prayer vigil on July 10th at 7:00 pm at St Mary’s Parish in Stevensville, Montana. Visitation will begin at 4:30 pm on July 10th prior to the vigil service. Funeral services will be at St Mary’s Parish at 11:00 am on July 11th, 2019 through Whitsett Funeral Home in Stevensville, Montana with burial in St. Mary's Cemetery. There will be a reception to follow.

Click to send flowers using our local area florist
Free delivery to our funeral home & save on wire fees
View/Sign the Condolence Book

Click the button to generate a printable document containing all condolences submitted

Condolence Booklet

Suzy Stevens
   Posted Mon July 08, 2019
Gloria was my dear friend for almost 30 years. I met her when she was admin officer for my husband, Stan Collins, for the Civil Air Patrol. My husband said I must meet Gloria, for "You'll love her." And I did. She was a wondrous friend. We had many great adventures together: trips to London, the Med and the Caribbean. Our favorites were on Windstar sailing vessels. I can still see her enthusiasm when Vangelis music played as the sails unfurled. Her joy, her intelligence, her strength and her endurance got her through an intense and hard fought battle with stage four lung cancer. I walked this journey with her, searching out the best treatments, and enduring them with her. She lived a remarkable three years with this devastating disease, and worked til December. I was so impressed with her bravery. She has a circle of friends in Atlanta who will miss her terribly. We send love to all her wonderful family. The world will be diminished by her loss, and Heaven will gain a marvelous addition.

Susan Stevens
   Posted Mon July 08, 2019

GRANDMA'S GARDEN TABLE BASKET was sent by Susan Stevens.

To the family of the wondrous Gloria Gandara. We will miss her so much! Love, Suzy Stevens and Stan Collins

Lisa del Valle
   Posted Tue July 09, 2019

RAYS OF SUMMER SUNSHINE was sent by Ron and Lisa del Valle.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Gloria's family and friends. With Love, Ron and Lisa del Valle

Stan Collins
   Posted Tue July 09, 2019
I first met Gloria in 1997, when I was a Squadron Commander in the Georgia Wing of the Civil Air Patrol. She had transferred from the Colorado Wing and joined up with us as soon as she could. It didn't take her long to become a participating active member who was loved by all. As Squadron Admin Officer, she was always supportive of everyone and during her time in that position, our squadron was always number one in the wing. Over time, Gloria became one of the revered members of the Peachtree-DeKalb Squadron and the Georgia Wing, and especially of the Collins family. We will miss Gloria but will always remember the good times.

John Robey
   Posted Mon August 19, 2019
Dear Lisa and Collin,
I am so sorry for this loss. I only met your mom a couple of times, but it was clear she was a lovely woman and human being. With deepest sympathy,
John R.

Image: Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Copyright © 2019 Whitesitt Funeral Home & Cremation Service. All Rights Reserved.    | Website by CFS |