Gloria Minghella

1930 – 2014

The much-loved, well-known and highly respected Islander, Gloria Minghella, passed away at the Mountbatten Hospice on 27th March, 2014, having been fortified by the Last Rites of Holy Mother by Fr. Anthony Glaysher, parish priest of St. Mary’s Church, Ryde.

Gloria and Eddie married at St. Mary’s on the Feast of St. Francis, 1950. Since then they have been stalwart parishioners, giving welcome support to all the priests of the parish. Best known among their five children was the late Anthony Minghella, the film director and oscar winner. The gallery and former convent chapel at St. Mary’s was dedicated in memory of Anthony by Bishop Egan of Portsmouth last year.

Both Gloria and Eddie were pillars, not only of the Catholic community, but the Isle of Wight in general, as councillors, charity workers and community leaders. She was also a former Isle of Wight Deputy Lord Lieutenant. Both Gloria and Eddie founded the, now famous, Minghella Ice Cream. Gloria was often affectionately referred to as the ‘Queen Mother of the Isle of Wight’. Her love for the Island shone through to everyone she met.

Her many years of community and charity work earned her an MBE in 2007. She was an energetic fund raiser and involved in and with so many good causes such as the Freiends of St. Mary’s Hospital, Ryde Carnival Association, Historic Ryde Society, the Island Dance and Drama Festival and the local branches of the Osteoporosis Society and the Motor Neurone Disease Association

Gloria was a keen supporter of the “Friends of St. John’s Cathedral, Portsmouth” and a founder member of the Isle of Wight Catholic History Society. She contributed her memoirs of life and times of the Catholic Church in Ryde, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s.

Very few people go on pilgrimages to Rome in their 90s, but both she and Eddie accompanied Fr. Glaysher on the parish pilgrimage to the Eternal City in October, 2012. She clearly had great difficulty walking among the crowded, cobbled streets of Rome, but all of us who, in turns, took her arm to assist her, were amazed at her cheerfulness, her upbeat spirit and determination to see all the ancient, religious Roman sites on the itinerary.

Mass was offered for the eternal repose of Gloria’s soul at the Church of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary in Ryde by Fr. Simon Leworthy shortly after she died on 27th March and the “De Profundis” was recited by the congregation.

The church was packed for Gloria’s Funeral Mass on Passion Tuesday, (8th April). The previous evening her coffin had been led into the church by Frs. Anthony Glaysher and Jonathan Redvers Harris, to rest on the exact spot where she and Eddie exchanged wedding vows almost 64 years ago. Members of her family read the Lessons and Bidding Prayers, and presented the Offertory gifts at the Mass. In the eulogies, Gloria’s four children, Gioia, Dominic, Edana and Loreta, spoke of her life as a wife, mother, community and charity worker; her care and concern for others, her joy in life, her sense of humour and the warmth which she transmitted towards all those with whom she came into contact.

Gloria was buried at Binstead cemetery.

Among the many tributes paid to Gloria, was one which appeared in the County Press saying she “personified that is good in the world, – fairness, compassion, justice, love and hope. Gloria had the balance of them all”.

Parish priest Fr. Anthony Glaysher, said: “It was Gloria’s faith that inspired her in the many works of charity and volunteer work in the community which she undertook, without looking for any thanks or rewards for herself. She had a great devotion to Our Lady, the mother of God, and it was Gloria’s devotion to the sorrowful heart of Mary holding her dead Son, that gave her the strength and fortitude to cope with the loss of her own son, Anthony in 2008. Our love and prayers are with the family of a remarkable woman. She will be missed not only by her family and friends, but in the parish community, by all of us”

Requiescat in pace
(Contributed by the Isle of Wight Catholic History Society)