Born in the West End of Boston to Albanian immigrants on the eve of the Great Depression, Gloria turned what could have been a life of stricture and privation to one of well earned strength and boundless love. Her intrepid spirit surfaced early: the only girl among boys jumping from the center of the Longfellow Bridge into the Charles River (swimmable, in those days), competing in & winning jitterbug contests, skipping school for an entire week to see Frank Sinatra. A member of a founding family of St. John the Baptist Albanian Orthodox Church in South Boston, Gloria sang in its choir for decades and continued to lend her lovely soprano to groups such as Sweet Adelines and subsequent church choirs.
The adventure continued as she eloped (albeit to the church) to marry a man of Greek descent, thus learning to speak a third language fluently. Together they raised four children to successful, productive adulthood, with much celebration along the way: on four separate occasions, she danced at the weddings of her children’s children. Her vivacity, with a love of Greek & Albanian dance and song, made her the life of any gathering, while her generosity and talent as a superb cook often had her as its hostess. She maintained close, lifelong friendships, many of eight decades and more, not just in times of rejoicing, but also as a caring listener and quiet confidant. She was able to feed her own soul, as well, as a voracious reader and lover of concerts (from early days with Arthur Fiedler), art and film. There was travel to far-flung places, from Machu Picchu to Jerusalem to India, with a return to the villages of shared heritage bringing the most delight: Treska, in the mountains of Albania, and Fatsa & Ordu, Greek lands along the Black Sea in Turkey. And ultimately, there was fulfillment of a life-long dream to settle by the sea, wherein she took daily joy.
Gloria is predeceased by her parents, Pandi & Celia Michaels, and her brothers James & Alexander (Sonny) Michaels. She is survived by her husband of 69 years, John Nicholas Ostis; by her sister, Virginia Anastas; by her children Michelle Ostis (Spencer Burton), Nikki (Paul) Makris, Damon (Rhonda) Ostis, and Harley (Heather) Ostis; by her grandchildren Freya (Matthew) Gaertner, Danika (Steve) Wade, Damon (Rachel Williams) Burton, Lianna (Haley) Burton, Allison Ostis, Melanie Ostis, and Nikolas Ostis; great-grandchildren Corinne & Genevieve Gaertner, Penelope Wade, Calliope & Heath Williams Burton, and Xanthe Burton; along with cousins as close as sisters, nieces & nephews as daughters & sons, and lifelong & close friends, including her Condo Angels.
A Forty Day Memorial Service will take place on Sunday, August 11, 2019, at St. George Albanian Orthodox Cathedral, 523 East Broadway, Boston, MA 02127, immediately following the 10 am Divine Liturgy. Plans for a memorial gathering in Florida are to be determined and will be posted on this site at a later date.
Donations in Gloria’s memory may be made to The Salvation Army.
May Gloria be given rest among the saints and angels and may her memory be eternal!
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