Thomas Gladden

Thomas Christopher Gladden

Saturday, December 25th, 1948 - Thursday, October 22nd, 2020
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Thomas Christopher Gladden, of Salem, Va., passed away on October 22, 2020.

He was born on December 25, 1948, in Roanoke, Va., to the late Hobart Augustus Gladden and Phyllis Ann Denit. Chris was a graduate of Andrew Lewis High School and Roanoke College. Ever a student of history, he was involved with what is now the Historical Society of Western Virginia and served on the board of the Salem Historical Society. He also served on the Salem Friends of the Library Board as both a member and President. Chris was a natural storyteller, like most of the Gladdens, and he could “spin a yarn” with humor and wisdom. This led to a career with the World News, now known as The Roanoke Times, as a feature writer and movie critic. His love of reading and writing led to a new venture midlife as Christopher Gladden, bookseller. He continued to collect and sell rare books and antiques for the rest of his life. Chris enjoyed traveling and loved Ireland, Italy and any beach. Bob Dylan was his hero and playing music was his joy. He loved his sons; they were the lights of his life. He was a loving father and being a dad to Sean and Will was his favorite and most important job.

In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his son, Sean Matthew Gladden.

He is survived by his son, William Blair Gladden; and numerous beloved family and friends. Chris will be missed by many for his generous nature. As one of his friends commented, he did not leave much undone.

The family will receive friends and family for a period of visitation and remembrance of Chris’ life on Saturday, October 31, 2020, from 6 to 8 p.m. at John M. Oakey & Son Funeral Home, Salem, Va.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to The Grandin Theatre Foundation, 1310 Grandin Road SW, Roanoke, Va. 24015 or Friends of the Salem Library, 28 E. Main St., Salem, Va. 24153. Online condolences may be expressed at
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Saturday, October 31st, 2020 | 6:00pm - 8:00pm
    Saturday, October 31st, 2020 6:00pm - 8:00pm
    John M. Oakey & Son Chapel
    305 Roanoke Boulevard
    Salem, Virginia 24153
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Interment

    John M Oakey & Son Crematory
    305 Roanoke Blvd
    Salem, VA 24153
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Al Barton

Posted at 05:56pm
Deepest Sympathy,

Al Barton
Salem, VA

Carl Hayslett

Posted at 10:05am
Many years ago I knew Chris through the paper. He was a genuine and earnest person. Always friendly to me, a college kid, and younger brother of someone he went to high school with. Over the years I would run into him usually connected to something book related. For me he was one of those folks from Salem that always made it a special place. My sympathies to his family. Regards, Carl Hayslett

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