Mary Lou Swift died January 3, 2017, at the age of 97, at her home in Tennessee where she lived with her daughter, Barb. M'Lou and Charlie Swift lived in Durango for 28 years, and were active in the Peace Community here.|
Mary Lou Sharpless was raised in New Jersey in a Quaker family. She went to Westtown Friends School and then attended Connecticut College for Women where she met Charlie Swift, a student at Yale. It was the beginning of a long life together -69 years of marriage- which included raising a family of six children in Bucks Co., PA, and journeying to Tanzania, East Africa, where they lived and worked in medical care for 8 years during their 50's, an adventure which brought visits to game preserves and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro twice.
After returning to America, they lived in NJ and then retired here to Durango, with Charlie finishing his last active professional years as Psychiatric Director of the 4-County Mental Health Clinic. M'Lou followed her passions of gardening, cooking and sewing -always an inspiration- and they both spent many hours out-doors doing what they loved best: hiking, camping and cross-country skiing. They always welcomed their family and many friends to their home for dinners and congeniality around their beloved fireplace. And people everywhere love the knitted sweaters and hats made continuously by M'Lou up to her final days.
Mary Lou is survived by children Betsy Janeczek (Andy), Barb Bloomfield (Neal), Ken Swift (Diane Coccari), Pat Swift (Jim Coate), Steve Swift (Deborah Moffett), 12 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. She is predeceased by husband Charlie and son Hugh.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to your chosen charity which you think will help bring peace to the world, or say a prayer or sing a song. M'Lou loved music and left us all with a desire to bring positive energy to those around us, so in her name - play it forward.
Published in The Durango Herald on Jan. 6, 2017