By: Al Balaban

Does being forced to move frequently from one country to another during early adolescence result in a passion to move about the world freely later in life? That notion may occur to those who will have the opportunity to see Dr. Gloria Schranz’s huge world map, festooned with scores of multicolored pins representing the countries and cities she has visited thus far.

The only child of a middle-class accountant’s family, Gloria was a 12-year-old Latvian schoolgirl when Russia invaded her country at the start of World War II, later followed by German occupation. Her family subsequently moved to Nuremburg for her father’s work. Gloria was 14 when the war ended and they moved onto an Allied Displaced Persons Camp. Having no American relatives or contacts, they remained in the camp for almost six years.

She was able to continue her schooling while arrangements were being made for them to emigrate to the U.S. Finally, after a brief stay in Michigan, they settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she was able to continue her education.

Gloria earned a B.A. degree at a local college, then was admitted to Marquette University, graduating in 1957 as a Doctor of Dental Surgery. She quickly built an active practice. A little later she met William Schranz, owner of a family roofing company, whom she married in 1961. Their mutual passion for travel resulted in great personal joy and pleasure as reflected in the multi-pinned map. In 1987, they both retired, left Wisconsin for Florida and nearby Osprey, where he died in 2010. Although she no longer wished to have an active dental practice, Dr. Schranz received a license to practice dentistry in Florida so that she could volunteer her services at the Senior Friendship Center in Venice and serve on its Board of Directors for more than 20 years. She has also been involved with the Community Foundation and has been on the Board of the American Cancer Society.

Dr. Schranz is gradually settling in, building a new and comfortable place for herself, gradually meeting new people, but also enjoying the quiet opportunity to immerse herself in historical and mystery novels. Surely the subtle, seductive powers of Plymouth Harbor committees and residents will work their magic…but Africa still calls.