Dr. Virginia, a Hardin-Simmons University graduate and Abilene’s first female physician, is welcomed to an HSU physical therapy class by left to right, Allison Ball, Kelli Baker, Virginia, Laura O’Beirne, and Dani Kline. The students heard from Connally on June 1, 2017, prior to departing for a medical mission trip to Peru in July 2017. They heard Dr. Connally’s stories about her own medical missions. Photo by Loretta Fulton
TEXAS BAPTISTS COMMUNICATIONS
Virginia Connally, Abilene’s first female physician, was one of two recipients of the Legacy Award from the Baptist General Convention of Texas on Sunday, June 3, at the historic Independence Baptist Church in southeast Texas.
Also receiving the award was Ken Coffee, former associate director of the BGCT State Mission Commission. The setting is appropriate for Connally, 105, who made history when she opened her medical practice in downtown Abilene in September 1940, specializing in diseases of the eye, ear, nose and throat.
A native of Temple, she graduated from Hardin-Simmons University in June 1933 and enrolled in September at the Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans. After completing an internship and residency at Charity Hospital in New Orleans, she returned to Abilene to open her office.
While at Hardin-Simmons, Connally joined First Baptist Church and today is the church’s oldest living member. She has been generous to her church, Hardin-Simmons, and to mission efforts wordwide.
Connally served on medical missions to Venezuela while in practice and was a member of the inaugural board of advisors of the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation. She and her late husband, Ed Connally, established the Connally Missions Center at Hardin-Simmons.
The site of the awards ceremony, Independence Baptist Church, was organized in 1839 and was the congregation where Sam Houston was baptized.