Gloria Stargel, a local Christian author and inspiration to people throughout the Gainesville community, died on Saturday.
Stargel was a graduate of Gainesville High School and Brenau Universtiy. Stargel was also a member of Lakewood Baptist Church.
“She was very highly respected and outstanding in the community,” said Don Ormsbee, executive pastor of Lakewood Baptist Church. “She was well loved, had a great sense of humor and a great wit.”
Stargel was also involved in several church ministries at Lakewood, including the Golden Nuggets ministry, a senior adult ministry, plus the Bonnie Moore Circle ministry, a women’s missionary group.
“She was always actively involved in the church, and she was very supportive of Lakewood,” he said.
Ormsbee also said she was an inspiration to others through her fight against cancer, and she was an “inspirational author.”
During her writing career, Stargel contributed her works to Guideposts magazine, Guideposts for Teens, “Chicken Soup for the Teacher’s Soul,” which was a No. 1 on the New York Times Best Seller List, and she wrote two books, “The Healing” and “My Anchor Holds — the Difference Jesus Makes.”
“My Anchor Holds” was published in 2008, and featured 57 stories of hope and inspiration from other people. Those included were North Hall football coach Bob Christmas; and Gene Beckstein, the founder of Good News At Noon.
Stargel’s writing was recognized in the local area, as she was named Writer Of The Year seven times by the Northeast Georgia Writers’ Club. She was also a past president of the club, having been a part of the organization for decades.
“Gloria was special in so many ways,” said Lynda Holmes, vice president of the Northeast Georgia Writers’ Club. “She was a fellow author and personal friend, and inspired me personally, and with my writing. I joined the Northeast Georgia Writers’ Club because of Gloria Stargel. I had read her book “The Healing.” ... I thought her Christian testimony was strong.
“I imagined ‘some day, I might get to meet Gloria Stargel through the writers’ group,’ and that’s what happened. I found that Gloria became a treasured, personal friend, as well as a respected, fellow author. Per writing, Gloria taught me to determine what my message would be, and my target audience...Personally, she demonstrated courage and grace in the face of challenges, always. Gloria will ever be in my heart, and I’m blessed for knowing her.”
In 2003, Stargel was inducted into the Brenau University Hall of Fame. The year before, she was presented with the Alumnae Professional Achievement Award from Brenau.
Stargel invested time in speaking engagements, including speaking at churches, civic clubs, schools and writing workshops.
“She’s going to be greatly missed by a lot of folks,” said Ormsbee.