ROCK SPRINGS — Sit with nearly 90-year-old Gloria Tomich, a retired Rock Springs High School teacher (of 15 years) and hospital volunteer (of 24 years), and one thing will become exceedingly obvious. Gloria knows everyone.
In the lobby of Memorial Hospital, dozens of passersby stop during the course of a 16-minute interview to say hi. Gloria said she runs into people she knows, former students, and hospital employees all the time.
“Sitting here, you see everybody in Rock Springs at one time or another,” said Gloria.
It only makes sense though. She’s got a long history here. Gloria was born in 1928 and raised in Reliance. Her mother was also born in this area.
Back when the only two main streets of Rock Springs consisted of North Front Street and South Front Street, a teenage Gloria would grab a burger at Grubs and then walk down to C Street for caramel corn.
A Career in Teaching, Starting at 5
Gloria’s passion has always been for teaching.
“I’ve been teaching since I was five years old. My mother told me that I would play school with my brother and cousin while they were still in highchairs. They were about two years old,” said Gloria.
She studied secondary education at University of Wyoming. Over the years, she taught in Superior, then at a one-room schoolhouse in Colorado, and later spent 15 years at Rock Springs High School.
“I loved it. I’d be up there now if I weren’t so cockeyed old!” said Gloria with a laugh. “I loved every day. I couldn’t wait to get to school. I think I was there right after the janitors opened the building at 6:30 am. I really did enjoy it.”
She said that she loved the challenge of teaching, and the children. “I just loved them to pieces. I never had problems with children,” said Gloria.
Volunteering with the Hospital
After she retired, she began volunteering at the hospital. She’s delivered the interoffice mail there for 24 years, walking two rounds of the campus a day, three days a week.
“I like it up here because I get to see people. I go into every office. I’m a people person,” said Gloria.
Gloria turns 90 years old on March 5 and will celebrate with what must count as a blowout party at her age because she’s inviting everyone–friends, family, and especially students.
The party will be an open house from 1-4 pm on March 4 at the Holiday Inn Ballroom. They’ve requested no gifts. Just cards and good memories.