Gloria Sheridan, 89, a spitfire who enjoyed learning

Karen Bouffard

Gloria Sheridan was a woman ahead of her time who earned a graduate degree in biology decades before girls were encouraged to pursue science. A perennial student, she spent her honeymoon at “bug camp” at the University of Michigan Biological Station in Cheboygan.

She was most beloved for her captivating stories of life in Depression-era Detroit, which were punctuated with humor and interwoven with a deep understanding of history, world politics and society.

Mrs. Sheridan passed away peacefully surrounded by loving caregivers on Dec. 20, 2016, in Haslett, at age 89.

“She was a spitfire, and a good conversationalist with a good sense of humor,” said her grandson, Christopher Bouffard of Los Angeles. “She knew a lot about history because she experienced it. I will miss talking to her.”

Born Gloria Ann Polom on March 22, 1927, in Detroit, Mrs. Sheridan was devoted to her parents, Estelle Clare Polom and William Michael Polom. She was predeceased by her beloved brother, Eugene Polom.

Mrs. Sheridan graduated from Detroit’s St. David High School in 1944. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Detroit in 1948, with a major in biology and minors in chemistry and English. She earned her Master of Science degree in Biology from University of Detroit in 1952.

She married William James Sheridan on June 11, 1949, and they had three daughters, Kathleen Sheridan of Ann Arbor, Antoinette (Toni) Sheridan of West Lafayette, and Karen Bouffard of Williamston. She held teaching positions at Washington Junior High School in Roseville, and Denby High School and St. Jude Elementary School in Detroit, before leaving the workforce while her children were young.

Mrs. Sheridan was a compassionate person who cared deeply about others, whether they were relatives, friends or strangers. She had a generous spirit, and delighted in giving presents or financial assistance, even with limited resources. In midlife, she started a second career as a social services worker in Detroit, and touched the lives of many while working for the then-Michigan Department of Human Services.

Mrs. Sheridan is survived by her daughters; five grandchildren including Christopher, Brendan (Dr. Kelly Donovan) Bouffard of Williamsburg, Corey Bouffard of Williamston, Robin Arnett of Denver, Colo., Dr. Kelly Arnett of Denver; Colo.; and two great-grandchildren, Riley Bouffard and Rowan Bouffard of Williamsburg.

Her funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Tuesday at St. Martha Catholic Church, 1100 W. Grand River, Okemos, 48864. Visitation will take place at the church preceding the service, starting at 9 a.m. A burial service will follow at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 25800 W. 10 Mile in Southfield.