Gilbreath, Dora (Fernandez) age 92, a lifelong resident of Tampa, passed away peacefully at her daughter's home on April 26, 2020. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, sister and friend. She married her now deceased husband, Jim, shortly after high school. They were married for over 50 years and raised 6 kids. While raising those children she went back to college to become a nurse. She retired in 1986 from St Joseph’s Hospital after 20 years to help raise her grandchildren.
Dora was a graduate of the old Jefferson High School. A big part of her early adult life was spent with Armenia Baptist Church where she sang in the choir and taught Sunday School until it closed. She then attended Wellswood Baptist, and eventually became a valued member of Calvary Community Church which she attended until her death.
Dora was always supportive and busy doing for others. She could be found crocheting afghans or sewing Barbie doll dresses as a gift or donation for children in need. She welcomed the neighborhood kids into her home and her children’s friends could be found hanging out in the kitchen with her while she cooked. She was a kind, loving and generous person with a great sense of humor. Still active at 89 years old, she would meet with her Junior High classmates for lunch at iHop and was often seen dancing like a star at her grandchildren’s weddings or the local Civic Club.
Dora was the beloved wife of James Vernon Gilbreath and loving mother of six children and more than 20 grandchildren and great grandchildren. Surviving children are Jimmy and wife Michelle; Betty and husband Curtis; Dennis; Warren and wife Annette; Carol and husband Bobby. She had one predeceased son, Allan, who passed in 1963 of Leukemia at the age of seven.
Dora’s parents, Jose and Librada Fernandez, both of Cuban descent, met and were married in Key West, Florida before moving to West Tampa where Dora was born and raised. Dora is survived by her younger brother Robert Fernandez and his wife Mary Ann, and she had 6 additional siblings who are now deceased: Connie, Joe, Virginia, Ondina, Dinora, and Eloy.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held at Calvary Community Church, 4811 George Rd, Tampa, FL 33634, at a future date To Be Determined. Donations can be made in lieu of flowers to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
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