Dr. Araceli Villanueva Ganan Almond, 78, of Buckhannon, West Virginia, passed away peacefully at her home on Monday, May 17, 2021, with her husband, Dr. Greenbrier David Almond at her side.
Born on June 17, 1942, in the Philippines in San Andres, Romblon, during World War II, Araceli was hidden in the jungle by her mother, the late Maria Villanueva Ganan, as her father, the late Nemesio Ganan, Sr., in his role as mayor, negotiated terms with the occupying forces.
Following the war, Araceli, along with her seven siblings, under the careful watch of their father, now Judge Ganan, and mother, a schoolteacher, grew up in the port town of Odiongan. Education was a priority and her brother Nemesio Ganan, Jr., a Philippine legislator, recommended her to medicine given her academic talent. Araceli graduated from Philippine Women’s University and then Far Eastern University Medical School in Manila in 1967.
Influenced by American missionaries and the U.S. post-war presence, Dr. Ganan followed her dreams to the United States. As she described in her autobiography, “God’s Boot Camp” (McClain 2017): “They say America is the greatest country in the world. I wanted to be there!” She arrived in 1970 and made her way to St. Margaret’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where her exploits as a pioneering female physician and “Singing Doctor” – known for sharing her musical gifts with patients – were featured in the “Pittsburgh Press” and “Voice of America.”
In 1975, Dr. Ganan completed her pediatric residency at WVU-CAMC in Charleston, West Virginia. While in Charleston, Araceli met her future husband, Greenbrier, who was a medical student. They bonded over their shared Christian faith and common dedication to medical service. Following a proposal on the Greenbrier River, near Ronceverte, West Virginia, Drs. Greenbrier and Araceli were married on September 13, 1975 at Evun Breth Acres in Buckhannon.
Their union continued for over 45 years, with children and grandchildren to evidence and continue this joyous legacy. For Dr. Ganan, her children, Maria and Roncevert, were an answer to God’s promise and she obediently and lovingly invested in their success. Araceli’s generosity extended to the numerous family members and exchange students she welcomed into her home and her enduring support for and service to her communities in the Philippines and West Virginia.
Araceli and Greenbrier practiced medicine together for a generation, in succeeding order at: St. Joseph’s Hospital in Buckhannon, West Virginia; Total Life Clinic in Buckhannon; Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Louis A. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Clarksburg, West Virginia.
“Growing up on a small island makes one dream of other places,” Dr. Ganan observed in her book. Araceli with her family, Greenbrier, Maria, and Ronce, in tow, toured all 50 states and traveled across North America and the world, including to Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, and Australia.
Dr. Ganan was preceded in death by her parents Nemesio Ganan, Sr. and Maria Villanueva Ganan; one brother, Nemesio Ganan, Jr.; and two sisters, infant Delia Ganan and Jesusa Ganan Villamor.
She is survived by her husband, Dr. Greenbrier Almond of Buckhannon; daughter Dr. Maria Luisa Ganan Almond (Justin Pope) of Farmville, Virginia; son Attorney Roncevert David Ganan Almond (Yasmine Almond) of Bethesda, Maryland; and four granddaughters, Aliza and Emilia Pope, and Harper Rose and Camille Almond.
Araceli is survived by five siblings: Lilia Ganan Serra of Agoura Hills, California; Priscilla Ganan Aborka of San Jose, California and San Andres, Romblon Province, Philippines; Edna Ganan of San Jose; Ned Ganan of San Jose; and Bella Ganan of Dallas, Texas. Also surviving are many beloved nieces and nephews.
Public visitation will be held at Poling-St. Clair Funeral Home on May 28, 2021 from 5pm to 8pm. Dr. Araceli Villanueva Ganan Almond will Lie-In-State at the First United Methodist Church, Buckhannon on May 29, 2021 from noon-2pm. A Memorial Service will follow at 2 pm with Pastor Steve Meadows and Pastor K Almond officiating. Araceli will be laid to rest at Heavner Cemetery in Buckhannon.
A Memorial Service in the Philippines was previously held May 21, 2021 at Odiongan Foursquare Gospel Church, Romblon Province. Rev. Andrew Tiaga and Rev. Lolia Gadon officiated.
The family requests that donations be made to any of three scholarship endowments:
Nemesio and Maria Ganan Scholarship; Romblon Foursquare Bible College, Odiongan, Philippines
C/O United Methodist Foundation of West Virginia, Inc.
500 Virginia Street East
Charleston, WV 25301
Give to “Other” on donations page and specify the Greenbrier D and Araceli Ganan Almond Donor Advised Trust
Harold David and Lois Ruth Flanagan Almond Scholarship
West Virginia Wesleyan College
59 College Avenue
Buckhannon, WV 26201
Araceli Ganan Almond, MD, Health Field-Related Scholarship
Upshur County School Board of Education
102 Smithfield Street
Buckhannon, WV 26201
Online condolences may be made to the family at www.polingstclair.com. Poling-St. Clair Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.