Honoring Aunt GladApril 27, 2023
Over 55 years ago, Gladys Hindes heard a simple message from her pastor about a family in Hesperia who could use a friend. Her immediate, whole-hearted response created an enduring bond between two families.
Rhonda Davenport Johnson is one of eight children in the family that Gladys befriended. “We became a part of her family,” said Rhonda. “When she said, ‘Call me Aunt Glad,’ she meant it and it was for a lifetime.”
Gladys knitted mittens for everyone at Christmas, attended high school and college graduations and weddings, and became one of Rhonda’s mother’s best friends. “She was always a part of our big moments, but she also just did life with us,” said Rhonda.
Gladys also embodied a welcoming spirit of inclusion that provided an indelible example for those around her. “For my brother and I, her legacy was inclusiveness,” said Laska Creagh, Gladys’ daughter. “She believed everyone deserves love.”
“Growing up as one of very few African American families in the area, we were made to feel different by some, but that was never part of Aunt Glad,” said Rhonda. “She wanted the best for everyone.”
At Gladys’ 100th birthday party in 2019, not only were many Davenports in attendance, but they also donated in her honor to the Community Foundation. “We wanted to help families who needed encouragement and support,” said Rhonda, who is now an executive vice president with Comerica Bank. “We wanted to acknowledge how significant such support had been in our lives and to bless someone else.”
When Gladys passed away in 2021, the Davenports gave again in honor of Aunt Glad’s legacy of love, joy, and generosity. Rhonda and her family continue to look for ways to carry on that example.
“I hope someday people will say that we did some of those things for others,” said Rhonda. “That we were kind, that we were loving, that we were accepting, the way Aunt Glad was with us. I, like the rest of my family, adored her!”
Pictured above (l-r) are Laska Creagh, Morris Davenport, Annie Davenport, and Rhonda Davenport Johnson. Photo by Rich Wheater.