Remembering Gloria Droguett

June 22, 2022

Gloria DroguettGloria Droguett was born on February 13, 1934 in New Orleans, during Mardi Gras. As Lizzie Blatt relates in her piece about Gloria in The Ebell’s on line-magazine, Droguett family lore has it that it was Gloria’s father who delivered her at her birth, since on that day, there were no sober doctors in New Orleans.

Gloria’s family moved to Los Angeles when she was eight years old, where her father continued his career as a mâitre’d in various restaurants, including the Brown Derby in Hollywood. Gloria attended Virgil Junior High and graduated as class valedictorian from Belmont High School, but her family was not in a financial position to send her to college.

In 1954, at age 21, Gloria married artist Rudy Droguett, who survives her, and they had two sons, first Larry and then Darrell. When Larry and Darrell were in middle school,  Gloria began to work in T.V. production in various capacities and as a director for an industry organization representing manufacturers of toiletries. She was always considered to be indispensable in whatever she did.

In 1979, Gloria found enough spare time to join The Ebell. Her name appears in the yearbook and directory of that year and is misspelled. There is no “e” on the end of Droguett. There is no indication in any other section of that yearbook that she had joined any committee or held any office. But, in the 42 years of Gloria’s Ebell membership that followed, there was never a yearbook in which she was listed only once. She was listed in the next yearbook as assistant chair of the Adrians, which was a sub-group of The Ebell created to assist the president. By the following year she was the Chair of the group and also in charge, for the next four years, of what was called “The Monday Stage”, which was the program in the theatre on Mondays which preceded the regular Monday lunch. She worked on the catering committee, the new membership Hospitality Committee, she chaired the spring benefits in 1982 and ’83.

Gloria served on The Ebell Board for a total of 15 years as Treasurer, Recording Secretary, Theatre Chair, Scholarship Chair and First Vice President. There is no doubt that her greatest loves at The Ebell were our philanthropies, Scholarship and the Rest Cottage Association, which she served tirelessly.

She was justifiably proud of chairing the Centennial Committee for the 100th anniversary of The Ebell in 1994, a committee which not only planned and carried out celebrations, but also planned and supervised extensive refurbishing of the campus. Gloria and the committee posed with various city and county dignitaries with proclamations in The Ebell’s honor. Gloria also succeeded in obtaining a spot in the Rose Parade of 1995, in which a group of members, suitably dressed in period outfits from our costume collection, rode in a horse drawn carriage down the Pasadena parade route. Here’s Gloria and the club members in the carriage.

The carriage, by the way, was adorned with flowers arranged by famed float designer Raul Rodriquez, who lived not far away from the campus in Windsor Square. At around the same time, Gloria successfully applied for the The Ebell campus and Theatre to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Gloria chaired hospitality days. She was current events programming chair. She chaired Christmas Balls. After the ball in 1996 was greatly admired, she was asked to do it again in 1997, and she did! Whether or not Gloria chaired a dance, she and Rudy invariably attended, beautifully dressed except for this one time, for a Mardi Gras party! Gloria, given her origins of course, loved Mardi Gras, and both Gloria and Rudy loved to dance!

Gloria did not have to be in charge to work hard for The Ebell. She served on far more committees than she chaired. What needed to be done, she would do. She glued glitter to galaxies of stars for the holiday ball of 2017, helped collect and sort and organize mountains of donated items for our epic parking lot sale in 2012, manned the cashiers’ tables and counted the money! At the Supper With Santa festivities she helped make creations for kids at June Bilgore’s legendary balloon table.

The party to honor Philip Miller’s retirement in 2021 became, to our shock and sorrow, the last time we were together with Gloria at The Ebell. On the dining room terrace, Gloria posed for this photo with eight current and former Ebell Presidents. Though many years had elapsed since her 15 years of service as a board member, she had continued her devoted work for The Ebell through the presidency of each and every one of them.

At that celebration, Gloria approached Phyllis Hansen, our excellent Board Director of Programming, to thank her for the zoom programs that Phyllis had organized during the Covid shut-down. That continuing connection to The Ebell, Gloria said, had helped her keep her spirits up through very difficult and isolating times. It was so like Gloria to express her thanks, but even more, to keep up with The Ebell, no matter what.

Though Gloria Droguett has passed on from this world, her spirit will most certainly live on here at The Ebell, this place she loved so much, in the hearts of the members who cherished her and worked with such dedication beside her.

Loyce Braun wrote this in remembering Gloria:

“Gloria and I worked together on the parking lot sale and the Theatre committee and the House Committee, where we cleaned closets and sorted Ebell possessions and organized storage from the three levels of the basement to the third floor. As we all know from cleaning out our own closets, the process is often stalled by the discovery of forgotten objects and documents that unleash the floodgates of memory. Gloria knew so much about The Ebell that what for most of us was at first a meaningless clutter came back to life in her delighted recollections. But she did not spend much time referring to herself. It was The Ebell’s story she told with such pleasure. She herself just buckled down and did the work.”

Kay Balue, who also joined The Ebell in 1979, shared this memory of Gloria:

“When I think of Gloria, I think of her loyalty to The Ebell, her friends, and her family. She was proud of her French ancestry, loved New Orleans and Mardi Gras, was an excellent, daily gourmet cook, loved a martini and her mind was a steel trap for details.

What I admired the most was her interest in and thoughtfulness of the Ebell staff. She always took time to get to know them and say hello. She knew of their families – names, ages of children and special talents they had that we never saw. She also kept in touch with several of them when they moved on to other jobs. Gloria knew the history and stories of the building and poured herself into many of the events and causes that defined The Ebell for all the years she was a member.”

Joan Rankin, a former member and Ebell board member who now lives in Wisconsin, sent this message about Gloria:

“Gloria was down to earth, generous and thoughtful with a wonderful laugh. She was hardworking, loyal, smart, tough, kind. When my husband died she left a message on my answering machine saying how sorry she was and that she would do anything to help me. She said she would bring meals and scrub my floors. I will never forget that, because, the thing is, she meant it. She would scrub my floors. She was a woman of her word.”