Gloria grew up and attended public schools in Gainesville. Before entering law school Gloria began her career working to help families and children who suffered from deprivation and abuse. In recent years, she tirelessly campaigned to convince legislature to provide for attorneys for abused and disabled children. She was a strong supporter of the local Child Advocacy Center. Within the last two years, she was instrumented in obtaining a record settlement for children abused while in foster care.
I met Gloria while she was an Assistant State Attorney working for Gene Whitworth. As I represented police and correctional officers throughout North Florida, Gloria was a perfect addition. At that time, law-enforcement and corrections was male dominated. In a meeting early on, officers complained about having a “women lawyer.” I assured them Gloria was my partner and a tough lawyer. Twenty-five years later, through her hard-work and passion for law-enforcement, Gloria’s reputation among those same officers far surpassed mine.
Gloria never called herself a feminist, but throughout her life she broke barriers that once excluded women. Throughout North Florida there are female judges, lawyers, prosecutors and business leaders who achieved success with Gloria’s support and encouragement.
Gloria was a dear friend and loyal confidant. She was never one who stood with you only when you were a winner – she was there when things had not gone well.
This community will certainly miss her, as will my family and I. But I am assured that her legacy and her accomplishments will be improving the lives of Floridians long after my time has also passed.
Rod Smith, former State Attorney and State Senator, was a law partner and close friend of Gloria Fletcher over the last thirty years. He is now with the firm of Avera & Smith.