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Virginia Connally, first female doctor in Abilene celebrates 101st birthday

By Jennifer Kendall, jkendall@ktxs.com
Published On: Dec 04 2013 10:11:51 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 04 2013 10:42:46 PM CST
dr. connally
ABILENE, Texas -

 Dr. Virginia Connally, the first female doctor in Abilene, celebrated her 101st birthday Wednesday.

Dr. Connally practiced medicine in Abilene for 42 years. She specialized as an ear, nose and throat doctor before closing her practice in 1982, but medicine was very different back then.

"She's seen a lot of change in this world," said Dr. Lanny Hall, President of Hardin-Simmons University.

That happens when you live to be 101 years-old.

"A lot of her patients were soldiers or people associated with camp Barkley," said Loretta Fulton, a friend of Connally’s who wrote her biography.

As the first female doctor in Abilene, Virginia Connally had a lot riding on her shoulders, although she didn't see it that way.

"I didn't ever think about being the first one I just jumped in and started working," Connally said. 

Dr. Connally spent much of her career traveling around the world visiting with missionaries, but she always remained loyal to Hardin-Simmons University where she graduated in 1933. That’s something the school is proud of.

"It is an example to students that much can be achieved if you set your goals high and work hard and that's exactly what she did," Hall said. 

That’s why friends decided to host a birthday celebration for Dr. Connally at the Connally Missions Center on HSU's campus.

"We just want to wish you a wonderful, wonderful, happy 101st birthday," Mayor Norm Archibald said to Connally at the celebration. 

Even though making it to 101 is quite a feat for most, Connally's friends don't expect her to slow down any time soon.

"I have no doubt that when one year from today will be right back here doing the same thing she just keeps on going," said Fulton.

"I'm trying to think about the things that I want to do that I haven't done so far," said Connally.

The Connally Missions Center AT HSU was completed in 2000, and dedicated in honor of Dr. Connally and in memory of her late husband, Ed Connally.