July 2010 - Remembering Gloria Hagberg 'Granny of the Airlifts'
We learn, with great sadness, of the death of Gloria on Sunday, the 27th of June 2010. She died peacefully in her home
at the United Kenya Club with her daughter Paula by her side.
Our thoughts are with Paula and the family today, the day of her memorial service, July 28th, 2010
She is predeceased by her husband Gordon (1973) and her son Peter(1963). She is survived by her daughter, Paula Schramm, a grandson, Michael Hagberg, a granddaughter, Adine Storer, and a great-grandson, Jack.
Gloria was born in Brookyln, New York on 1st February 1913 and came with her family to live in Kenya in 1956. In 1962, she
and Gordon made Kenya their home permanently.
Gloria still full of fun in February 2009
It was such a pleasure to finally meet Mwalimu Gloria at The United Kenya Club (February 11th 2009) and find out more about her early days in Kenya with her husband Gordon and daughter Paula who was a pioneer in her own way. ( More later - and more of Gloria's naughty sense of humour.)
It was also surprising to find out that their connection with the Obama family went further back - to President Obama's grandfather.
FEBRUARY 2008: A sad situation in Kenya but Gloria is safe.
An e mail sent on February 1st 2008 - in the midst of the post election troubles.
I found time to visit Gloria today- it's uncanny that I have now visited her twice, exactly on her birthday February 1st on her 94th and now 95th birthday. She was born in 1913.
Gloria didn't have a great night last night so when she saw your book she was elated and ever so happy. She said "Just as well I didn't pop off last night" and was delighted to see her name right there in the Prologue.
She was very talkative and went on to narrate how the first born in her family was a girl called Hazel. In those days in California mothers hardly went to a hospital for the delivery of their babies. Anyway her father said how he wished that their next child would be a son, and he announced, with that in mind, that his wife would not be seen by a midwife but a proper doctor! That was 1913 so when the child was born up popped Gloria! Gloria was married to a newspaperman, called Gordon and often travelled to far away destinations with her husband.
One of her recollections today was how she had bought a raffle ticket at the annual fund raiser of the East African Women's League. Turned out that she won the first prize, which was an all expenses paid trip to the Seychelles. She said she couldn't possibly accept the prize as all she wanted was to support the raffle. A good friend of hers insisted that she take the chance to visit the Seychelles and offered to take her there buying herself a ticket to accompany her. She had the most wonderful holiday.
Gloria is so sharp. I could listen to her stories the whole day. Her hearing isbad, so I had to shout myself hoarse. She remembers every detail and how when she was courting her fiancée Gordon stopped in a garden and broke off a branch from an orange tree. Gloria said it was so romantic to see and smell the orange blossoms!
She is, of course, most thankful to you and hopefully you will receive a note from her this time as she asked for your address and I believe she was very happy to see your card with 95 on it.
I left her in good spirits and told her that you wanted to visit her but it would have to wait a little longer.
Gloria and Harry Wanderi in 2007
Mwalimu Gloria 'Granny of the Airlifts of the 1960s' Hagberg lives in Nairobi where she celebrated her 94th birthday in February 2007. She and her late husband Gordon prepared over 5000 scholarship students from Kenya for their first ever flights and for life in America as undergraduate students. She is seen below with Rotarian Harry Wanderi who was the manager of the United Kenya Club where she is a resident. Harry has now moved to Nyahururu. The flowers were a birthday gift from the author presented to her by Effie and Celia Goes.
One of the students she helped was Barack Obama Senior, the father of Senator Barack Obama who is campaigning so brilliantly and inspiring the USA with his bid to become the Democratic candidate for President. Will America have a leader with Luo ancestry before Kenya does?