Book Reviews: Virginia Connally, M.D.

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Virginia Connally, M.D.: Trailblazing Physician, Woman of Faith by Loretta Fulton (Texas Star Trading Company)

In two short phrases, the subtitle of Virginia Connally’s biography points to the profile and passion of her long, illustrious life. Indeed, she was a trailblazing physician. And at 98, she remains a woman of faith.

In 1940, the Hardin-Simmons University graduate returned to Abilene and established her medical practice, specializing in diseases of the eye, ear, nose and throat. Connally became the city’s first female doctor.

Across the arc of her 42-year career, she also made history as the first female president of the Taylor-Jones County Medical Society and first woman chief of staff of Hendrick Memorial Hospital.

Because of Connally’s medical training and skill, thousands of West Texans across several generations enjoyed excellent health care. Thanks to her trailblazing, hundreds of young women have found a pathfinder and mentor, someone who opened their eyes to potential that would not have seemed possible had she not gone before them.

Due to her faith, people the world over have come to know Jesus as their Savior, too, and were encouraged to grow in faith and commit their lives, talents and resources to spreading the gospel so that all may know Christ.

Loretta Fulton, former religion and higher education writer for the Abilene Reporter-News, has written a compelling biography about a true 20th century pioneer and Christian role model. It’s the story of a girl who grew up in Temple, took to heart lessons offered by family and teachers, and far exceeded expectations placed upon women of her generation—or any generation.

Through its pages, Connally walks beside medical, educational, church and community leaders who shaped Abilene, most significantly her beloved husband, Ed, as well as Baptist leaders far and wide. Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson make several cameo appearances, as do Malcolm Muggeridge, Elton Trueblood, Liz Carpenter and Sam Rayburn.

And it’s filled with friends who share Connally’s faith. It demonstrates her leadership among Baptists and her passion for missions and ministry. It provides clues as to how, even in the short shadow of her centennial birthday, she remains sharp, vibrant, active, optimistic and faithful.

The book inspires because Virginia Connally is an inspiration. She demonstrates deep and abiding virtues—insatiable curiosity, lifelong learning, friendliness, optimism, discipline, tenacity, gratitude, humor, love of books, greater love of people, even greater love of Jesus.

When you read about her life, you’re prone to say, “I want to be like Virginia Connally when I ‘grow up.’” She would be the first to say, “You can,” and her biography shows how.

Marv Knox, editor  

Baptist Standard,  Dallas


When Someone You Love No Longer Remembers by Cecil Murphey (Harvest House)

It’s too late to give my friend the beautiful book I just read by well-known author Cecil Murphey.

The illustrated gift book is intended to encourage care-givers, friends and family members of those whose memory has faded. My friend’s mother, diagnosed only four years ago with Alzheimer’s disease, was laid to rest just a few weeks ago.

Alzheimer’s disease, or any form of dementia, follows no known timeline. I learned this on page 14 of the 64-page book, When Someone You Love No Longer Remembers. I learned things of value on every page of this book.

Cecil Murphey offers comforting advice and gentle guidance in his newest book. He relates first-hand stories of caretakers’ insights gained on their difficult journeys.

Equally comforting are the illustrations provided with every turn of a page. Michal Sparks’ artwork matches the book’s mood. There are sandy beaches with wooden chairs, weathered fences, a warped boardwalk, a low tide, broken seashells and a tranquil sunset. These and other soft-hued scenes give a soothing backdrop to the nuggets of nurture shared in each chapter.

An appendix includes helpful suggestions for staying healthy, communicating, activities, and some expectations as the disease progresses.

A final page provides instructions for visitors—special manners for special circumstances. This book will bless many.

Patti Richter


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