Mary Swisher Profile Photo
1923 Mary 2015

Mary Swisher

April 18, 1923 — April 24, 2015

Mary Anne Fehrs Swisher of Atlantic passed away on April 24, 2015. She was born April 18, 1923, in Omaha, Nebraska, the daughter of Zelma Noble Fehrs and William Henry Fehrs. She was baptized at Kountz Memorial Lutheran Church in Omaha. When she was five years old her family moved to the Chicago area and settled in LaGrange, Illinois, where Mary Anne graduated from Lyons Township High School. She attended the University of Illinois where she was a member of Pi Beta Phi.

She loved dancing and taking long walks in the woods with her father. In 1944, she married Charles Allen Swisher, who was an ensign in the Navy, at Grace Lutheran Church in LaGrange. They had the summer together before his ship (an LST) left for the Pacific Theater. Mary Anne returned to school and graduated in 1945. She then worked as a copywriter in Chicago. When the war ended, the young couple lived first in Chicago, then in Danville, Illinois, Oskaloosa, Iowa, and Sterling, Illinois. In 1954, they settled in Atlantic.

Mary Anne was preceded in death by her husband, Charles; infant son, Thomas Allen; her parents; and a step-grandson, Timothy Schaffer.

She is survived by her wonderful family of three sons and one daughter: Randall Swisher (Carol Schaffer) of Silver Spring, MD, Dr. William Swisher (Cindy) of Lincoln, NE, Stephen Swisher (Anne) of Durango, CO and Anne Swisher Hyatt (Tony) of Bellevue, NE. She is also survived by six grandchildren: Cena Swisher (Thomas Hooper) of Falls Church, VA, Dr. Kathryn Swisher Rosenberger (Jim) of Lincoln, NE, Sarah Swisher (Greg Johnson) of Minneapolis, MN, Anna Swisher Bunger (Scott) of Chicago, IL, Sara Swisher of Omaha, NE and Will Swisher of Lincoln, NE. She has six surviving step-grandchildren: Alexandra Schaffer, Hollywood, CA, Raymond Hyatt (Leanna), Bellevue, NE, Katey Pegler Pickel (Jake), Marian Pegler and Dyan Pegler, all of Lincoln, NE, and Ellie Pegler, New York, NY. Mary Anne was additionally blessed with six great-grandchildren, Emma, Ainsley, Tatum, Finn, Henry, Reid and Charley. She is survived by a man who has been like a son to her since his arrival in the United States in 1966, Peter Barry Wenden of New Zealand (Catriona) and his family.

Of special importance in Mary Anne's life was her beloved brother, William Henry Fehrs Jr. and his wife, Peggy (both deceased) of Douglas, GA and Cashiers, NC. Surviving are their children, William Henry Fehrs III (Sheena), Laurie Fehrs Johnson (David), Kay Fehrs Srodulski, and all their children.

Following Charlie's death, Mary Anne worked as a Vista Volunteer with a team of three others, assisting with various programs for senior citizens in counties of southwest Iowa. She then worked for a period at His Bible and Book Store and at Cass County Memorial Hospital in human resources. Her favorite job was with Western Iowa State Board of Regents Center in Atlantic, helping to bring continuing education from the three Iowa Regents' universities.

Mary Anne lived with a sense of gratitude. She looked for that bit of delight that existed in each day. She and Charlie provided strong and loving guidance to their children during their marriage, and following his untimely death, she courageously continued on her own. When she could no longer live independently, she became a resident of Heritage House, and enjoyed old and new friends there. Mary Anne was a lover of life. She loved her flowers and her birds. She loved good food, and celebrations that would bring together friends and family. She had a strong sense of social justice, and participated, sometimes fiercely, in the political process. She lived according to a plaque on her wall which stated "The best things in life, aren't things". She will be missed, and forever cherished.

Mary Anne's life will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, June 13, 2015, at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Atlantic, IA. Mary Anne has requested that in lieu of flowers, memorials be sent to St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Atlantic, IA or the Atlantic Heritage House Good Samaritan Fund.


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