Gladys Reba McCormick O'Neal
Gladys Reba McCormick O'Neal was born on February 19, 1907, southwest of Altus. After graduating from Porter High School in 1925, O'Neal enrolled at Oklahoma College for Women in Chickasha. She studied there one year and then took time off in 1926 to relocate to Altus and marry the love of her life, Jack O'Neal. The two were married 61 years. She has been an active and influential member of the community since her return to Altus. She chose to continue her education after a thirteen year absence by enrolling at Altus Junior College and completing her Associate Degree in May of 1939. Immediately following, O'Neal went on to earn a Bachelor's in Education Degree from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and enjoyed a teaching career for 32 years in both Porter and Altus. She holds a lifetime certificate in commercial and grade school teaching and is a member of both the Oklahoma Education Association and the Retired Educators Association. In 1939, O'Neal joined Altus First United Methodist Church and has been an active member of United Methodist Women, Council on Ministries, Administrative Board, Church Women United, and in documenting the church history. Her husband, Jack, served in the armed forces and Gladys remained supportive and involved by volunteering as a member of the American Legion Auxiliary. At the age of 102, she was honored as a Living Legend in Jackson County by the Museum of the Western Prairie and as a 2009 Altus Older American. O'Neal hopes to encourage those who are hesitant to return to college to go ahead and do so. Her life's course would have been drastically altered had she not made that choice.