Gloria Jean Gibbons, 72, who inspired her daughter Leeza to create a nonprofit organization that supports patients with Alzheimer's disease and their caregivers, died May 22 at the Lowman Home Nursing Center in White Rock, S.C., after a long battle with the degenerative disease.
The Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation was set up by the television personality in 2002, about three years after her mother's illness was diagnosed.
The organization works to provide better care, education and support for those affected by the disease, which is marked by the deterioration of brain cells.
The foundation now runs seven centers across the country, including Circle of Care Leeza's Place in Sherman Oaks and Assistance League Leeza's Place in Hollywood.
Known as Jean, the elder Gibbons recorded public service announcements urging those with Alzheimer's to be honest about their affliction and to seek help.
She was born Gloria Jean Dyson on March 26, 1936, in Summerton, S.C., and married Carlos Gibbons, who became state superintendent of education. Together they raised three children.