By Kelcey Zacarese, Global Journalism '14
After 90 years of intense traveling, working, and studying, you would think Dr. Anne Bedrosian spends most of her leisure time relaxing in the backyard of her cozy California home. However, that’s probably one of the last places you’ll find this always-active Drexel College of Medicine alum.
Anne spends a great deal of her free time doing anything physical such as hiking, walking, and exploring the countryside. One of her greatest pleasures comes from hiking, where she covers about 500 miles a year.
After having knee replacement surgery, Anne was hesitant to maintain the active lifestyle she loved living for so long. She was up and on her feet constantly throughout her life, completing shifts at medical school until she dropped out to be part of the Navy’s WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency) program in the hospital corps.
Anne called herself 'a real flag waver' for her country, so discovering that some of her classmates were dying at war left her unconditionally heartbroken. Therefore, she decided to devote herself to helping save the lives of those valiant young men and women.
“I loved all my classmates and I realized that some were dying trying to fight for our country," she said. "I felt the need to do whatever I could to help."
When her service ended, she became a TWA airline hostess for a year while waiting for a job to open in the Detroit Police Department. Years went by and she eventually saved up enough money to go back to medical school.
Anne returned to Medical School, enrolling in the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, a school where there were about 50 women in each class and no men at all.
“I developed a strong sense of confidence completing a degree that was heavily dominated by men,” she said.
After years of diligent work and determination, she graduated and started her career as an anesthesiologist at a hospital in Los Angeles. When she moved over to the Memorial Hospital of Panorama City, she finally started to take a step back from her career and spend some time falling in love.
At 40 years old, on a blind date set up by two of her doctor friends, Anne met her partner, a horse-loving gambler named George Shah. They would spend the next 49 years together until George's passing about a year and a half ago. Anne said that they connected perfectly, and enjoyed doing almost anything together. However, she was never the one to overlook money and independence, and therefore decided that in order to keep both her love for George and her personal freedom, she would never actually marry him.
Growing up in the Great Depression, Anne diligently worked for every cent tied to her name. She grew up in poverty where dirt roads and missed meals were the norm. Anne recognized that some days would be excruciatingly difficult to get through, and she wanted to be able to surpass through the tough times. She learned that she would have to save every last cent she earned in order to fulfill her dreams.
“I grew up will full appreciation that if you want something, you need to work for it," said Anne. "No one is going to give it to you."
Anne said that George never complained about anything, and he allowed her to live happily independent, retaining all of the worth she earned throughout life.
“I allowed him to live his life the way he wanted to, too," said Anne. "If there was an emergency when we were out to dinner and I had to leave, he never complained. He traveled a lot and I would look forward to when he came home. I let him do whatever he wanted to do in order to be happy.”
Anne said that George was an incredibly social person and her family and friends all adored the bright presence he brought to a room. Despite any differences they might have, he was able to bring out the laughing and outgoing side of Anne.
“I fell in love with the man for who he was, not with a man that I wanted to make him,” she said.
Anne on a hike, celebrating her recent 90th birthday.
Dean Musgrove, Los Angeles Daily News
According to Anne, she has had so many of her life's greatest desires fulfilled. She obtained an exceptional education, fell in love with a man nothing short of incredible, and established an amazing career that allowed her to help and care for the citizens in the country she loved.
However, if there was one thing that she could essentially 'do-over,' it would be to have kids and raise a family. With the amount of work she was devoting to the hospital at 40 years old, along with George’s differing opinions about raising children, this apparent desire was never fulfilled.
“It was circumstances just as much as it was choices,” she said.
Anne always loved the idea of having kids and raising a family, yet it just wasn't in the cards for her and George. Nevertheless, she said that she always enjoys passing along her knowledge and the experiences she gained throughout the years to younger generations of men and women.
One of her many words of wisdom: "People who have a deep craving for a specific activity or profession, they are happiest when they finally decide to undertake that as a living."
She said that she wants the younger generations of men and women to realize that it is absolutely possible to accomplish your dreams. Through her hard work and dedication, Anne is an inspiring example of how following your dream can surpasses some of life's deepest struggles.
“Your greatest satisfaction will come from having accomplished the challenges that come your way,” she said.