In Memoriam: Gladys J. Hildreth


Gladys Hildreth, Ph.D., CFLE, passed away on April 15, 2023. She was NCFR fellow, held membership for 50 years, a Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) for 33 years, and CFLE Emeritus.   

Dr. Hildreth authored Leaving No One Behind: How Education Moved an African American Family from the Fields of Poverty to Living the American Dream. In this book, Dr. Hildreth highlights the value of family relationships and good interpersonal family communication when identifying resources to fund college education, how successful African American families can aid struggling students, and the worth of obtaining a college education in overcoming poverty. Additionally, she authored several articles that focused on interpersonal family dynamics in business, family experience, stress and resilience in disasters, family bereavement and unresolved grief, and many others.  

She earned her bachelor’s degree at Southern University, her master’s degree at University of Wisconsin, and her doctorate in child and human development from Michigan State University. In 2000, she was named an NCFR Fellow, and she later earned CFLE Emeritus status. She was also a Golden Life Member of Delta Sigma Theta. 

Dr. Hildreth’s professorate included more than 65 years of family development and human relations scholarship. She served as department chair of the School of Human Ecology at Louisiana State University (Professor Emeritus), chairperson of the Department of Family Studies at University of Kentucky, faculty at Texas Woman’s University, and lecturer at University of North Texas, while also mentoring others throughout her esteemed career.  

She championed projects from the development and/or restructuring of academic programs and graduate admissions to Family Life Education, parenting, and sexuality. Dr. Hildreth also co-spearheaded movements to strengthen child well-being through fostering parental relationship and optimal family structure. Up to her retirement from the University of Kentucky in the Department of Family Studies, she was a mentor to many graduate students and colleagues.  

She received the Marie F. Peters Award in 1994 from the NCFR Ethnic Minorities Section (now the NCFR Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Families Section). Additionally, Dr. Hildreth served on the following NCFR committees: Local Arrangements Committee, Elections Council, Fellow Committee, and Inclusion and Diversity Committee. 

You can read her full obituary here.  

Dr. Hildreth will be eulogized during the annual memorial service at the 2023 NCFR Annual Conference. The names of any NCFR members who have recently died are also read aloud at this service. Members who have served as an NCFR board member, journal editor, or are conferred NCFR Fellow status are given a eulogy. 

If you learn of an NCFR member who has passed away, please email [email protected]