Gwendolyn Johnson Acsadi

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Obituary

1922 - 2015
Gwendolyn Acsadi was the daughter of Vivian and King Johnson, sister to Eunice and King Johnson. She was born in Burgaw, North Carolina and moved at an early age to Washington, D. C., where her brilliant mind showed itself when she graduated high school at sixteen and went on to Howard University, American University and Columbia University where she obtained bachelors and masters degrees in sociology, a master's degree in economics/demography and additional graduate credits in journalism. Her educational choices put her on track to launch a stellar career as a demographer. She was quickly hired by the United Nations and rose up the ranks to become Section Chief (non-medical) of research in fertility and family planning in the Population Division of the United Nations in New York, and served for four years as chairperson of the International Programme Committee of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (London, England). These positions took her on official business to sixty-three developed and developing countries on behalf of the United Nations and for a time she lived in Nigeria, teaching and conducting research.
During one of her many trips to Europe she met and fell in love with George Acsadi. They married in Nigeria and again in New York and between traveling the world together they ultimately made their home on Roosevelt Island. No two people could have been better matched in temperament and intellect. After retiring from the United Nations she and her husband George (deceased)-renowned in his own right-operated a consultancy business in demographic research for the Population Council, World Bank and other organizations.
The writing bug eventually led her to pen her first novel, which was published in 1995. She took the name Forster-her husband's family name-and from there on was known in the publishing world as Gwynne Forster. From that first published novel to her last, it was one success after another, complete with numerous awards and nominations for her body of work and in recognition of her contributions as one of the early pioneers of African American romance. Some of her awards included Affaire de Coeur Hall of Fame, Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Gold Pen Award among numerous others. In many of the writing circles she is lovingly known as the "Grand Dame," and in all of them she is revered as "a lady."
Gwendolyn was an avid gardener, enjoyed fishing and she was a longtime member of Good Shepard Church on Roosevelt Island where she lent her beautiful voice to the church choir. She was an experienced traveler, and a gourmet cook that loved to entertain and blend the cuisines of the many cultures that she knew.
Gwendolyn is survived by her adoring stepson Peter and her devoted daughter-in-law Laura, two step grandchildren Erin and Rose, extended family and countless friends and admirers.
Published on NYTimes.com from Jan. 21 to Jan. 22, 2015
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