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Columbia Missourian

Gloria Seabaugh always had smile on her face

By Sky Chadde
November 26, 2012 | 4:15 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — One day when she was a little girl, Joyce Foutz went to the grocery store with her mother, Gloria Seabaugh.

When they were leaving, Foutz noticed her mother was in tears. She asked her why.


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Mrs. Seabaugh told her she had seen a little girl in the checkout line who was dirty and obviously not properly cared for. She wanted to clean up the little girl and take care of her, Foutz recalled.

This is one example, her family said, of how Mrs. Seabaugh demonstrated her caring, giving and dynamic personality.

Gloria Ann Seabaugh, formerly of Columbia, died Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012, at the Shangri-La Rehab and Living Center in Blue Springs. She was 73.

She was born on April 21, 1939, in Sioux City, Iowa, to John and Ellen Wray. She graduated as valedictorian from Holy Family High School, in Mason City, Iowa, in 1957.

Her father was a businessman who moved his family frequently. Foutz said that's the reason her mother was so personable; she had to be because she moved from school to school and had to make new friends at each one.

She married Dan Seabaugh on Oct. 8, 1960, in St. Louis. In December 1976, they moved to Columbia. On Jan. 30, 1978, Mrs. Seabaugh began working as an office assistant for the city. She was promoted to director of human resources in December 1981. Mrs. Seabaugh’s caring and giving attitude made her a perfect fit for the job, Foutz said.

Mayor Darwin Hindman proclaimed the day she retired — Jan. 4, 1999 — as Gloria Seabaugh Day.

When Foutz and her three brothers were teenagers, the Seabaugh residence served as the gathering spot for friends, Foutz said. During Christmastime, family and friends would gravitate to the family's house.

Mrs. Seabaugh and her husband would take their kids to Six Flags in St. Louis early in the day, her son Steve Seabaugh said. They went as often as they could, he said. He remembers that the family saw St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson retire at Busch Stadium.

Through it all, Seabaugh had a smile on her face. One employer even called her "Smiley," her son John Seabaugh said.

When she was upset with her children, Steve Seabaugh recalled that his mom would say, "You make me so mad you make me want to spit purple nickels." Steve Seabaugh said he never really figured out what that meant.

Mrs. Seabaugh enjoyed singing, playing the piano, baking, sewing and interior decorating. Her son Scott Seabaugh remembers that the family would go to auctions and buy furniture for her to fix up and resell. All four children would wait to see what their parents would buy.

As a young man, John Seabaugh shared regular lunches with his mother, he said. The practice continued later in life.

When Mrs. Seabaugh was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, she handled it with grace, Scott Seabaugh said. That smile didn't leave her face.

Her husband was her main caregiver until he died in 2005. Four years later, her children moved Mrs. Seabaugh to the Shangri-La Rehab and Living Center in Blue Springs.

Visitation for Mrs. Seabaugh will be at noon Thursday at Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W.. Services will follow at 1 p.m. at the funeral home.

Mrs. Seabaugh is survived by three sons, Steve Seabaugh, and his wife, Rita, Scott Seabaugh, and his wife, Katie, and John Seabaugh and his wife, Lisa, all of Columbia; a daughter, Joyce Foutz and her husband, Lanny of Blue Springs; four sisters, Mary May, and her husband, Frank, of Tampa, Fla., Nancy Goodwyn, and her husband, Bob, of Willard, Peggy Scheidker, and her husband, Steve, of San Antonio, Texas, and Joan Wray, of Portland, Ore.; two brothers, Tom Wray, and his wife, Jean Ann, of Republic, and Mike Wray, and his wife, Jessica, of Columbia, Ill.; 11 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

Memorial donations can be made to the Alzheimer's Association Mid-Missouri at or mail to 2400 Bluff Creek Drive, Columbia, MO 65201, or Coyote Hill Christian Children's Home at or mail to P.O. Box 1, 9501 Coyote Hill Road, Harrisburg MO 65256.

Tributes can be posted at