Gladys L. (Hersberger) Cone

October 10, 1917 ~ January 16, 2020 (age 102)


Gladys Cone, 102, was born to Leander and Wilma (Smeltzer) Hershberger in October, 1917 in Elkhart County.  Gladys entered into Eternal Life in January, 2020, surrounded by family, hospice and nursing staff at Dujarie House of Holy Cross Village at Notre Dame.


Gladys led a long and courageous life of religious-affiliated and civic service, both locally and abroad.  Upon graduation from Nappanee High School and gaining a teaching certificate, she taught students in grade levels 1 through 8 in Elkhart County.  At the conclusion of World War II and continuing through the 1940s, Gladys, with sponsorship of the Presbyterian Church, became a teacher in the American University of Beirut, Lebanon.  For this work, she travelled by ship to the Middle East.  Her time in Lebanon was followed by additional service, as a teacher to 180 children in a Mennonite orphanage in France, and as a director of a YMCA camp in Turkey.  On returning to the USA, Gladys completed a Master’s Degree at Goshen College.  In 1954, Gladys was wed to Palmer Cone.  Gladys then attained a Master’s degree at Indiana University, Bloomington, and soon found a career, which was to span four decades, as a teacher in the Elkhart Community Schools.  


Gladys became a member of First Presbyterian Church in Elkhart during the 1950s, where she was an active volunteer, including service as a Deacon and Elder.  As a member of Presbyterian Women, she supported church-affiliated cooking and sewing programs that served the needy, such as Suzanna’s Kitchen.  In her life’s journey, both in and outside the church, Gladys could always discern and promote positive aspects of all situations, being both justified by as well as motivated by the motto “to serve Christ as Christ serves us.”


From the 1960s through the 1980s, Gladys and husband Palmer helped several families from war-ravaged nations in southeast Asia to acclimate to life in the United States.  The relationships forged between the Cones and these freedom-seeking families were mutually and culturally enriching; many became life-long friends.


Gladys was an avid reader, sewer and gardener, and she painted dozens of canvases as an amateur artist.   She was a gracious host, always welcoming and hospitable, regardless of circumstances.  She maintained memberships in and supported several professional organizations, including the AAUW (American Association of University Women), Delta Kappa Gamma, Retired Teachers of Elkhart County and the Art League.


Preceding Gladys into Eternal Life are her two sisters, Verda Good and Maxine Yoder; two brothers, Clyde and Lowell Hershberger; and her husband, Palmer Cone.  Surviving Gladys are those who carry cherished memories of her remarkable life, including her daughter, Elizabeth, son-in-law Frederick, and a number of nieces and nephews.


The Memorial Service in thanks for the life of Gladys Cone shall be held at First Presbyterian Church, 200 East Beardsley in Elkhart, on Saturday, March 7, 2020.  Visitation begins at 11:00 a.m., with Worship Service at noon, followed by a social gathering at 1:00 p.m.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be directed to Church World Service, 28606 Phillips Street, Elkhart, Indiana 46514

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Gladys L. (Hersberger) Cone, please visit our floral store.


March 7, 2020

11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
First Presbyterian Church (Elkhart)


Church World Services
28606 Phillips Street, Elkhart IN 46514

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