Mrs. Gloria McFarland was born in Brooklyn, NY, to Elizabeth Nash Jennings of Richmond, VA and LeRoyal Jennings of Akin, SC. She was raised in Jamaica, NY, and attended the famous all girl’s Washington Irving High School in Manhattan. Upon graduation, Ms. McFarland became a dietician’s assistant at the Mary Immaculate Hospital in Jamaica, NY where she said, “Her employment was short because the hours were crazy and the pay was lousy.” Then she went off to embark upon a new adventure with her best friend and moved to Bartlett, NH, to become a housekeeper at her friend’s family resort. The thrill of the adventure was over after one season. While she was getting her footing in the professional world, she met Mr. John J. McFarland who was born in Spartanburg, SC, and raised in Philadelphia, PA.
Mrs. McFarland married Mr. McFarland in 1954. They subsequently settled in with her parents in Jamaica, NY, where they had the first three of their seven children; Deborah McFarland, Robert McFarland (deceased) and Elizabeth McFarland. With their family expanding, Mr. and Mrs. McFarland moved to New Cassel/Westbury, NY in October 1959 where they were the fourth to build their house on Brooklyn Avenue and their fourth child, Thelma McFarland soon followed. When the McFarlands arrived in Westbury, a gallon of gas was 25 cents, a loaf of bread was 20 cents, cloth diapers picked up and delivered twice a week, Park Avenue school was a field of woods, Pick & Pay Super Market was on the corner of Prospect and Sheridan, Seymour’s Drug Store was on the corner of Covert Street and Union Avenue and the average price of a new automobile was $2,250.
Mr. and Mrs. McFarland went on to round out their family delivering Stanley McFarland and Markallen McFarland with Gloria Lee McFarland bringing up the rear.
As the children started going to school, Mrs. McFarland started her community service and volunteer quest as a Class Mother. There was a time when she had to travel to three different schools in a single day for parent-teacher meetings, school programs and chaperoning field trips. Her son Robert was one of the first students to enter Park Avenue School. She later became a school monitor to keep an eye on her child and the children in the neighborhood she grew to love.
To keep her children active, Mrs. McFarland became a Cub Scout Den Mother and a Girl Scout Leader for Juniors. While serving as a Girl Scout Leader Mrs. McFarland had the pleasure of meeting Mr. & Mrs. Little, Mr. & Mrs. Smalls and Mr. & Mrs. Thomas at the Kuzuri Youth Center on Prospect Avenue between Hopper and Garden Street. Her new friends later formed the New Cassel Drum and Bugle Corps. Mrs. McFarland served as the Drum & Bugle Corp’s Treasurer and Seamstress, with her children taking part in the marching band as a drum majorette, drum player, trumpet player, saxophone player, cymbal player, etc.
When Mr. McFarland joined the New Cassel Memorial Post #1861, Mrs. McFarland joined the Ladies Auxiliary unit serving in many capacities; President, Financial Officer, a volunteer for the program that supported veterans that had children with special needs. For this program she coordinated transportation, haircuts, manicures, gave gifts to the children, and much more. Mrs. McFarland was blessed to culminate her passion for history by touring the East & West Wing of the White House during President Obama’s Administration as a guest of the Ladies Auxiliary Unit #275 out of Maryland.
When her youngest child, Gloria, entered the fourth grade, Mrs. McFarland became a Family Service Worker for Head Start. Also when needed, she served as a substitute cook and a substitute bus driver. While there, Mrs. McFarland served over 1,500 Westbury and Carle Place children, 3,500 parents and grandparents. Mrs. McFarland retired after 25 years of service and received numerous awards, such as: The Making A Difference Award for her many years of outstanding and dedicated service to New Cassel Community Families from the New Cassel United Community Center, Inc., the Achievement Recognition Award from the Nassau Economic Opportunity Commission from the Head Start Child Development Program and a Certificate of Appreciation and Grateful Recognition of her outstanding performance, productivity and dedicated service.
As if she had not accomplished enough, Mrs. McFarland decided she wanted to pursue her college degree after her last child entered college. So, Mrs. Gloria McFarland started school and graduated from Adelphi University two weeks before her youngest child, Gloria Lee graduated from Hofstra University.
Mrs. Gloria McFarland’s volunteer activities included The National Council of Negro Women Inc., Long Island Cross County Section where she was a Legacy Life Member, Westbury Senior Citizens Center receptionist, the Community Elders Enrichment Program, the United Methodist Church Pantry, United Methodist Committee on Relief and Missions, Meals on Wheels delivery for more than 25 years, Wise Wonders of Westbury Red Hat Society member and much more.
Because of her dedication and unyielding support of her surrounding communities, Mrs. McFarland was inducted into the Town of North Hempstead’s Women Roll of Honor, received the Economic Opportunity Commission of Nassau County’s Service Excellence Award, received the Mary McCloud Bethune & Dorothy Height Recognition Program Achievement Award in appreciation of her loyal support, received an Award of Appreciation from the United Methodist Men, teceived an Award of Appreciation and Dedication of Services as a Member and President of five years from the United Methodist Women.
In addition to all of her community activities and volunteerism, Mrs. McFarland was an avid reader, black literature historian, jazz connoisseur, and played a mean game of solitaire on her iPad to pass the time. To many she will be remembered as a trusted confidant with whom you could freely share anything without reservation or fear of judgment.
Mrs. McFarland was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend. She was predeceased by her husband, John McFarland, and son, Robert McFarland. She leaves to mourn and cherish her memory and incredible legacy her children Deborah Montiero (spouse Michael), Elizabeth McFarland-Garrett (spouse Lonnie), Thelma McFarland, Stanley McFarland (spouse Kisha), Markallen McFarland (spouse Evelyn) and Gloria Lee McFarland; Grandchildren Robert McFarland (spouse Thalise), Jeremy McFarland, Marcus Montiero, Martin Montiero, Steven Brown, Nicole Garrett, Lonnie Garrett and Markallen McFarland, Jr., Christopher Baugh; great grandchildren Kyla McFarland, Andre McFarland, Xander McFarland, Jace McFarland and Alianna Garrett; sister Barbara Thompson, a nephew and son of the heart, Kevin Thompson (Patrice), son of the heart Sylvester Mitchell, who she loved and adored as if she had given birth to him herself, her uncle Eugene Nash, goddaughter Elizabeth Nash, nieces Desiray McFarland and Joyce Minus, nephews LeRoy Jennings, Kenneth Barrie, Shawn McFarland, great-nieces Missy McFarland, Marissa Thompson and Monique Thompson, great nephews Ransom Ballard, Hannibal Jennings, Eric Jennings, Damian Jennings, Keith Poole and Antwayne Johnson, a host of relatives, devoted friends and neighbors she adored.