Born in Amity, Arkansas in 1909, Gladys Davis Topping Bevil, developed a love of travel as a child and at age three, took her first trip from Oklahoma to New Mexico, a 300-mile excursion in an open buggy pulled by a team of black mares. She witnessed the growth of the American nation, living through both World Wars, the Great Depression and the Civil Rights Movement.
Mrs. Bevil received a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Oklahoma and later studied journalism and drama at the University of Missouri. She held many careers, including working as a rural case worker during the Great Depression, teaching horsemanship at Stephen’s College, modeling, and serving as head of the information bureau in the Ford Motor Company Pavilion at the World’s Fair.
While visiting her niece in Beaumont, Gladys Topping, a widow, met Lamar Bevil, a successful Obstetrician/Gynecologist whom she later married in 1969. Dr. Bevil, who practiced medicine for 38 years, died of cancer in 1989.
Gladys was the founder and first president of Captain Nicholas Martiau Charter, which was named after her ancestor. She was a very hospitable lady and many of the chapter meetings in the early years were held in her home. In order to form a chapter in CDXVIIC, it is necessary for someone who is already a member of the society to help organize the new chapter. Mattie Ellen Trube was the Texas State Organizing Secretary at that time and offered to help establish our chapter. The organizational meeting was held in 1980 in order to start the ball rolling. It was required to have at least 18 members in order to charter the new chapter which was chartered in 1982.
Mrs. Bevil passed away in 1997 from breast cancer and heart complications. Before her passing, Mrs. Bevil was very interested in the ‘Gift of Life’ and wanted to be a sponsor of “The Gift of Life” program so women who had no insurance or could not afford to have mammograms would have the opportunity of an early diagnosis and treatment. As a result, she established the Gladys D. Bevil Charitable Trust. Her legacy of giving endures in the many lives touched by her benevolence.