In Loving Memory of Gladys Elizabeth Datch
July 22, 1946 – January 19, 2023
It is with great sadness we announce the passing of Gladys Elizabeth Datch on January 19, 2023. She was
truly an extraordinarily beautiful human being and touched the lives of everyone she met. A loyal and
kind friend to so many people. She lived her life with a love for humanity, and for all creatures large and
small. She was the “glue” in her family, always supporting those in need.
Gladys, lovingly referred to by many as “Gladdie”, was born on July 22, 1946, in Tampa, FL. She was a
sixth-generation Floridian and proud of her Sunshine State heritage. She was the daughter of Ernest and
Maxine Frier and spent her early years living a simple life among the Florida mangroves with her family.
Gladys graduated from Jefferson High School, where she was voted the title “Miss Jefferson” and
graduated from the University of South Florida. As a young widow with two small children, she taught at
Wilson Middle School before embarking on a career as a department store buyer. She had a natural
talent for decorating and enjoyed the home furnishing business. Eventually, she focused her sales career
on the lighting industry.
Gladys and her children, Crystal and Scott, moved to Maryland where she excelled in the lighting
business and made a name for herself. She was loved by her customers for her smile, laughter,
demeanor, and conversation. People wanted to be around her and to conduct business with her.
She was very family-oriented and had a large extended family, all of whom were dear to her as she was
to them. She was incredibly proud of her children and grandchildren and prioritized spending time with
them, both in person and virtually. She shared a special bond with her sisters. They loved each other,
enjoying the laughter and shenanigans they created, including a motorhome adventure in the
Everglades while they were in their 70’s and 80’s.
Throughout her life, Gladys made friends easily. Her Southern charm was an attraction. She always took
time to nurture her relationships through calls, cards, and visits. Gladys was an avid reader and enjoyed
conversing about books with others. She enjoyed writing and after finding a stack of letters (tied in a
blue ribbon among her mother’s belongings), used that material to write a book about her family,
centered on her namesake grandmother, Gladys Olliff.
Gladys married Michael Datch in a celebratory event in Annapolis, Md in 1998. Gladys and Michael
enjoyed their life together and loved to travel. As a couple, they traveled throughout the United States
and to the Caribbean, South America, Africa, Europe, Russia and to Michael’s country of origin, Greece.
Gladys and Michael loved boating, particularly sailing, and shared many memorable sailing adventures
with their friends. Gladys particularly loved her infamous sailing trips in the Caribbean with the Bad
Gladys loved both her Annapolis, MD, and Madeira Beach, FL Communities. In Annapolis, Gladys served
on the board of the Chesapeake Harbour HOA and on the board of the Annapolis Opera for 10 years.
While she loved her life in Annapolis with Michael, her happy place was at her home in Madeira Beach.
There she enjoyed the winter months and loved gardening with native tropical plants. She also enjoyed
watching the sunset from the dock overlooking Boca Ciega Bay. Her most favorite of Madeira Beach
happenings was hosting her family for their annual Thanksgiving feast with her children, nieces,
nephews, spouses, sisters, etc. She had a strong sense of place in Florida.
She will be extremely missed by her husband Michael, daughter Crystal Kjelsberg (Michael, deceased),
son Scott Arenal Mullen (Jennifer), grandchildren: Richard Scott, Anthony, Hannah, Clara, Emory, Mariah,
Henry, and Lauryn, great-grandchild: Ronin, sisters: Jean Pinero and Lois Vega, and MANY nieces and
nephews. She is joined in heavenly spirit with her parents, Ernest and Maxine Frier, and siblings, Ernest
M. Frier (Mac) and Lucy Caruso.
There will be a void in the lives of those left behind as well, including Michael’s family, Terry Mullen, the
Bad Girls, book clubs, and all her friends and neighbors. Though her body has left us, her spirit will be
with us each day. Through her death, she is reminding each of us to live a beautiful life, and to always
share joy and kindness.
NOTE: PLEASE INDICATE YOUR NAME AS YOU WOULD LIKE IT TO BE LISTED ON THE COMMEMORATIVE CARD / LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS BY USING THE "FROM" FIELD, I.E. THE SMITH FAMILY. NO OTHER PERSONALIZATION IS NEEDED, AS ALL TREES THAT ARE PURCHASED THROUGH THIS PAGE WILL BE LOGGED AND PLANTED IN GLADYS' HONOR AND MEMORY.