Dr. Gwendolyn “Gwen” Jankowski (nee Robertson) DVM, MS, Dipl ACZM, began her celebration of life October 5, 1979 in Crestwood, MO. She deeply loved her husband, her children, her family, the outdoors, the exhilaration of running, and all things chocolate. One of her greatest passions was the health and well-being of animals, leading to a career as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine specializing in large mammals; most recently expressed through her position of associate veterinarian at the Denver Zoo.
Gwen’s celebration of life came to an end August 9, 2019 at her Denver home of unknown causes. Although her life was cut terribly short, Gwen’s impact and list of accomplishments is extensive. Gwen was an exchange student in Costa Rica, an accomplished dressage equestrian, and a first-string player on the Lindbergh High School tennis team. She briefly continued her equestrian interests at Truman State University in Kirksville, MO where she attended on an academic scholarship. It was a Truman State that she met the love of her life Benjamin Jankowski. Gwen graduated with a BS in Biology in 2002 and married Ben the following summer.
After their wedding the couple resided in Albuquerque, NM where she pursued graduate level courses in Recreation (Environmental Education emphasis). Gwen and Ben then moved to Stillwater, OK where Gwen attended Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Health Sciences. During veterinary school she served preceptorships at the St. Louis Zoo, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, TX, and Limpopo Wildlife Services, South Africa.
Graduating with a DVM in 2008, she accepted an internship at the Audubon Zoo/New Orleans Aquarium/Baton Rouge Zoo/Louisiana State University. Gwen also completed a residency at the Brookfield Zoo/Lincoln Park Zoo/Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. After receiving her DVM from OSU and MS from the University of Illinois, Chicago, she joined the Denver Zoo as a veterinarian in 2012 and earned certification in the exclusive ACZM (American College of Zoological Medicine) international specialty organization in 2015. Gwen also participated in several research expeditions to Peru studying the environmental impact of seals and penguins.
But Gwen’s greatest joy came from her marriage to Ben and the birth of their three children, Nadia age 5, Beckham age 4, and Ryland one year of age. In addition to her husband and children Gwen is survived by her parents Jim and Kathleen Robertson; her sister Victoria Barron and her husband Matt and their children Makinley age 3, and Merick one year of age; her mother- and father-in-law Steve and Elizabeth Jankowski; a close extended family; and a long list of friends and co-workers. Gwen’s faith, dedication to family, and passion for life were inspiring. She will be greatly missed by all who had the joy of knowing her.
Gwen and her family are active members of the Washington Park United Methodist Church. A private ceremony was conducted August 13th for her family.
There will be a remembrance celebration for Gwen the night of August 25th from 6-8 at the Denver zoo. Please click on the link to get your passes for the after hours event.
In lieu of flowers, a friend has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the children’s education fund.
Gwen Jankowski Memorial Fund