In memory of
GWENDOLYN CONVERSE WINTER HAVEN - Winter Haven physician
GWENDOLYN CONVERSE WINTER HAVEN - Winter Haven physician, Gwen Converse (whose professional name was Dr. Connor) passed away at her home peacefully and well-prepared on February 7, 2020. She was the first female anesthesiologist in Polk County, and one of its earliest female physicians, arriving in 1960. She was born in Kingstree, South Carolina on May 24, 1928, one of four sisters in a rural family, but her farsighted father determined that 'all his girls would be educated, so they would never depend on a man.' She exceeded all his expectations, completing college at Winthrop College in 1948 and a medical degree at the Medical University of South Carolina in 1952. She married her second husband, Dr. J. G. Converse, in 1964, with whom she practiced medicine. After he passed away in 1977, she worked for 13 more years, forming a 7-doctor anesthesiology group that exists today. She served thousands of patients at Winter Haven Hospital at all hours of the day and night tirelessly, skillfully, and lovingly. She retired in 1990, and spent the last thirty years traveling, doting on her grandkids, serving in various capacities at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Winter Haven, attending Lakeland's Bible Study Fellowship, and leading the Winterset HOA, where a park has been created in her honor. Her life touched many people. She is survived by her son, Dave Connor, his wife, Barbara, her daughter, Susan Connor Way, her husband, Roger, her stepdaughter, Sharon Rice, her stepson, Geoff Converse, his wife, Debbie, and her grandchildren, Lena, Rose, Connor, Jeremy, Sarah, Noah, Luke, and Amanda, as well as her sisters, Frances Workman and Bobbie Smith, who will all miss her keenly. Funeral services will be at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Winter Haven on Tuesday, March 10, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. Please give any memorial gifts to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Polk County, George Jenkins Memorial Unit.
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