Dr. Albert Gleason: West Orange County’s Eminent Physician
Dr. Albert Gleason (1911–2015) received his medical license in 1938 – and practiced medicine for the next 65 years. He did not simply nurture his patients; through his generosity and dedication, he helped foster the fast-growing West Orange community.
After beginning his practice in New Jersey, Dr. Gleason moved with his wife Georgia to Florida in 1940. The couple moved to Winter Garden following his Army service.
Dr. Gleason’s first medical office was on the second floor of the Black (Cappleman) Building on Plant Street. He soon brought his growing practice to an office on North Boyd Street, currently the Education Building of the First United Methodist Church.
In 1945, Dr. Gleason and local businesspeople formed the West Orange Memorial Hospital Association to lobby for the establishment of a medical center in Winter Garden. Construction began in 1946 on land donated by the City. West Orange Memorial Hospital, with 40 beds, opened on North Dillard Street in 1952. Dr. Gleason served as the hospital’s Chief of Staff, managing to outfit the facility with equipment purchased from a former hospital. A new wing was added in 1957. West Orange Memorial continued to expand with amenities, services, and a three-story wing rose in 1974.
Dr. Gleason served as Chief of Staff at Ocoee’s Health Central Hospital when it opened in 1993. In 2012, Orlando Health purchased Health Central.
There was no Catholic church in Winter Garden until Dr. Gleason arranged for Mass to be said at his Boyd Street office. He was instrumental in helping to fund a sanctuary located on State Road 50. The growing parish moved into a new building that rose on Winter Garden-Vineland Road; the church’s Gleason hall is named in his honor.
Dr. Gleason delivered Dr. John Cappleman of Winter Garden, who went on to serve as the practitioner’s personal physician. Dr. Gleason was also a charter member of the West Orange Country Club and served as a board member for the South Lake Apopka Citrus Growers Association.
Over the course of his long career, Dr. Albert Gleason left a legacy of quality healthcare through his compassion and commitment to the medical needs of all the people of West Orange County.
The exhibit is available through August 31, 2021
Monday through Friday, 8 am – 5 pm
Winter Garden City Hall Art in Public Places Gallery, 300 West Plant Street