Heaven Just Got a Bit More Sparkle
Gladys Vidella Swanette Ekstadt Leach passed away on June 2, 2019, at her home in Wickenburg, Arizona. Born April 11, 1928 in Gary, Indiana, Gladys was the daughter of Hilma Swanson and Eduard Ekstadt, and the younger sister of Karna Ekstadt Danielson.
Gladys married the love of her life, William Bernard Leach, in 1970 and remained happily wedded until he passed away in 1995. She had three children from her first marriage to Gene Kilmer: Mark, Val and Wesley Kilmer. Her youngest, Wesley, predeceased his mother in 1976 at age 16. Gladys has four grandchildren, all of whom she was very proud of and loved to talk about: Thomas and Lisa Kilmer (Mark) and Mercedes and Jack Kilmer (Val).
Prior to her first marriage, Gladys had a career in advertising in Los Angeles. In the mid 1960's she discovered the joys of the hospitality business when her first husband and a business partner purchased the Kay L Bar Guest Ranch in Wickenburg, Arizona. Her beloved Bill Leach, as a wedding surprise, purchased the Kay L Bar Ranch from the two partners. To the delight of the Wickenburg community and the many returning guests, Gladys and Bill managed and operated The Kay L Bar for another ten years.
Gladys leaves behind a legion of friends who adore her. She was a beloved fixture of the Wickenburg community and was known as a sparkling and gracious hostess who had the kindest of hearts and an abundance of charm. She was an enthusiastic supporter of numerous charities, she loved music and dancing, she was an excellent horsewoman and always ALWAYS a superb and stylish dresser. A Life Member of Las Damas women's trail riding group, Gladys completed 47 of their annual Five-Day rides; but if you asked Gladys, it was FIFTY! We will always remember her story telling and jokes. No matter how many times she retold them, we listened with rapt attention waiting for the punch line. She is telling these same jokes to everyone in Heaven now and we can see all their faces glowing with anticipation.
Gladys loved Jesus and was an active and life-long follower of Christian Science.
Heaven just got a bit more sparkle, with an added touch of glamour and an extra large dose of charm.
The family is not planning a service, however a Memorial and Celebration of Gladys' life is being planned and will be held in Wickenburg in the early Fall.
The family suggest memorial contributions in Glady's memory be made to K-9 Connection 903 E. Wickenburg Way Wickenburg, AZ 85390