Gwen was born in Spokane, Washington, on June 10, 1915 to Edward and Faye Ross. Her undergraduate degree was in Music and Education from Linfield College in Oregon. She taught high school music in Oregon and served with the Red Cross during World War II. She later earned her masters in Social Work from Smith College.
Gwen’s first assignment with DoDDS was in Japan in 1961 as a guidance counselor in the Washington Heights housing area schools in downtown Tokyo and later at Tachikawa Air Base. While living in Japan, she traveled extensively in her little car with map in hand, crossing the Japanese Alps, staying in traditional Japanese ryokans, visiting the hot springs resorts, and eating only traditional Japanese food. On one adventure she climbed Mr. Fuji the usual route and descended another route, receiving extensive coverage in Japanese and American newspapers.
Later assignments were to Madrid (where she was also a part-time student at the Prado), Frankfurt, and finally as a district social worker in Heidelberg.
Gwen was an accomplished pianist, gourmet cook, and world traveler. Among many other places, she visited Kabul, Tehran, China and the ‘stans’ in Central Asia, as well as Eastern Europe several times during the Cold War. Hong Kong and Bangkok were her favorite destinations. Gwen’s love of fine dining took her to all the Michelin three-star restaurants in France.
Gwen retired from DoDDS in 1987 and moved to Green Valley, AZ, where she passed away on March 7, 2010.