December 16, 2018

Grace L. Swartz

Died Dec. 29, 2017


Grace Lucille Swartz, 91, of Goshen, Ind., formerly of Au Gres, passed away Dec. 29, 2017, at Cottage Garden Family Care Home in Goshen.

Grace was born April 15, 1926, in Pigeon, the sixth of nine children of Jesse Byler and Agnes Gunden. As a young woman she learned the value of hard work on the family farm in rural Pigeon, milking cows, gardening, cooking and sewing. At an early age she accepted Christ as her Savior, and was a lifelong member of Pigeon River Mennonite Church and then Riverside Mennonite Church. Grace spent a year at Eastern Mennonite High School in Virginia before working in various homes in Midland. On Sundays she traveled to Vassar Mennonite Church to teach Sunday school. She spent much of a year at Bowling Creek in the hills of Kentucky, helping with child care for Frank and Gertrude Dutcher as they established a church there.

On June 18, 1949, Grace married David Swartz of Au Gres, the third of three sisters to marry three Swartz brothers, and they bought a farm on Whitman Road from his brother Joe and her sister Naomi. In addition to working a large garden and caring for five children, Grace was known as the “Bake Lady” to the weekend visitors along the shore who bought her delicious cinnamon rolls and pies. Through many years until late in life, she made many dozens of quilts and wall hangings for various people and for donation to the annual relief sale in Fairview. Grace was known for her hospitality, always offering their home for visitors to Riverside and contributing dishes for meals at the church whenever needed.

In 2012 Grace and Dave moved off the farm into a comfortable duplex in Huron Woods a few miles away, and then in 2014 to Sherman Glen Assisted Living on Alabaster Road. Ten months after Dave passed away Jan. 23, 2015, the family moved Grace to Waterford Crossing in Goshen, Ind., near her son Sheldon. The final seven months of her life were spent in the loving care provided by the caring staff at Cottage Garden, for which the family is immensely grateful.

Grace was preceded in death by husband, David; infant son, David Dean; brother, Raymond and wife Fannie; sisters, Ruth, Naomi and husband Joe Swartz, and Lois and husband Lester Brubaker; and brother-in-law, Raymond Swartz.

She is survived by sisters, Anna Mae Swartz, Daisy and husband Paul Yoder, Alice and husband Eugene Souder, and Arlene and husband Paul Gingerich. Living on to cherish Grace’s memory are children, Alan (Willa) Swartz of Okemos, Sheldon (Velma) Swartz of Goshen, Ind., Marilyn (Lloyd) Hinton of Huntsville, Texas, Brenda (Bill) Jolliff of Newberg, Ore., and Gary Swartz of Au Gres; as well as 10 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Grace’s children wish to thank the many friends who have so enriched our mother’s life.

Visitation is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Riverside Mennonite Church. Funeral services will be held Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, at the church at 10:30 a.m. Interment will take place immediately following the funeral at Sims-Whitney Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be directed to Riverside Mennonite Church, 3620 Twining Rd., Turner, MI 48765.


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