Remembering professor emerita Martha Wroe

The College of Public Health and Health Professions is deeply saddened to report the passing of Martha Wroe, a professor emerita in the department of physical therapy. Wroe was a resident of Oak Hammock at the University of Florida retirement community, where she passed away peacefully at the age of 102.

Martha Wroe with patient circa 1960s

Wroe served her country during World War II as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army. As an officer, she treated wounded soldiers and completed her physical therapy education at the University of Wisconsin. After her discharge, she furthered her education with a master’s degree in physical therapy from Stanford University.

In 1959 she moved to Gainesville, where she would serve as the director of physical therapy at Shands Hospital. Wroe also co-founded the UF department of physical therapy, holding numerous leadership positions during her tenure with the university. She retired as a professor emerita in 1987. Wroe remained active in retirement and was even featured in a 1998 New York Times article, which detailed her trek across the Alaskan tundra as part of an Elderhostel experience.

In addition to her clinical and academic work, Wroe was the recipient of various awards and honors. She was recognized by the American Physical Therapy Association with the Lucy Blair Service Award, the Pediatric and Neurology Section Awards, the Florence and Henry Kendall Award for clinical performance and professional promise, and the Catherine Worthington Fellow Award. At UF, she received the Teacher of the Year Award for her dedication to her students and the professional practice of physical therapy.

The Martha Wroe Clinical Performance Award was established in her honor and is awarded annually to a Doctor of Physical Therapy student who has excelled in clinical practice during internships.

Wroe was a practicing physical therapist for over 50 years, a much-loved clinician and educator by her colleagues, students and patients. Read more about her legacy:

Martha Catherine Wroe obituary in the Gainesville Sun

THEY REMEMBER WAR Oral History from the Writecorner Press

HRP News, Spring, 1984