Gloria Jean Gaffke, 79, passed away on Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at home in hospice care, surrounded by loved ones.

Gloria was born April 2, 1941 to John Howard and Eileen V (Hewitt) Heath.

Gloria loved and lived OUT LOUD, starting with her passion for horses: riding, training, and putting them through their paces in the ring. Her love of four-legged animals extended to her involvement with the American Kennel Club. She bred, trained, hunted with, and showed her beloved Brittany Spaniels. Later in life, she cared for more canine creatures as she fostered/adopted through the American Brittany Rescue.

Always a caregiver, Gloria enjoyed her job as a nurse all the way up until her diagnosis a year ago. She enjoyed crocheting and was a social butterfly, able to hold a conversation with anyone, unless they were full of it. Above all else, Gloria cherished time spent with her family. She was in her element as the hostess of family get-togethers, especially Christmas (her favorite holiday).

Gloria is survived by her son, Christopher (Julie) White; siblings, Jack (Linda) Heath and Jeff (Nicole) Heath; grandchildren, Katie White, Sr. Mary of the Visitation [Sarah] White, and Becky (Luke) Swehla; nieces and nephews that she loved like her own, Andrea (Ben) Murphy, Andrew Heath, and Patricia Eileen Heath; very special family friend, JW Erie; step-daughter, Johna Gabrielle Hedden; and a host of extended family and dear friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Charles H. Heath; and husband, Duke Gaffke.

The family will greet friends on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with the Rosary at 6:30 p.m. at Hamilton’s Southtown Funeral Home, 5400 SW 9th Street. A Mass of the Christian Burial will be held on Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at Christ the King Catholic Church, 5711 SW 9th Street. Gloria will be laid to rest at Norwalk Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be directed to the family or the American Brittany Rescue in loving memory of Gloria.

Condolences may be expressed at

Service Details

Tuesday, October 20, 2020
4:00 pm to 7:00 pm
6:30 pm Rosary
Hamilton's Southtown Funeral Home
5400 SW 9th Street
Des Moines, Iowa
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
10:00 am
Christ the King Catholic Church
5711 SW 9th Street
Des Moines, IOwa
Norwalk Cemetery
Norwalk, Iowa
Hamilton's Southtown Funeral Home
5400 SW 9th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50315
(515) 285-3911

Order Flowers
Order Flowers