Virginia "Ginger" Stafford Swearingen

Friday, February 8, 2008

Virginia "Ginger" Stafford Swearingen, 68, of Sedalia, died Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2008, at Bothwell Regional Health Center.

She was born Dec. 1, 1939, in Sedalia, the daughter of Elliot Morrison Stafford, Jr. and Virginia Reid Stafford. On Oct. 8, 1960, in Sedalia, she was married to Hinton Wooddy Swearingen, who survives of the home.

She attended Ten Acre School in Wellesley, Mass and graduated high school from Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, Pa. She graduated in 1960 from the University of Missouri with a degree in journalism. At the university, Mrs. Swearingen was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Last fall she was awarded a pin celebrating her fifty years of membership in that organization. From 1960 until 1973, the Swearingens lived in Nevada, Missouri where Mrs. Swearingen was a member of All Saint's Episcopal Parish. She was active in the community as a member of the Research Club, the Diana chapter of Missouri Women's Federated Clubs, and Chapter DW, P.E.O. She was an American Red Cross grey lady, a sponsor of the high school year book and a Cub Scout den mother. In 1973 the Swearingens moved to Sedalia.

Mrs. Swearingen was a descendant of the Reuben Gentry family who settled in Pettis County in 1819. Her great grandfather, Pascal George Stafford, moved to Pettis County in 1865. Since that time, family members have been involved in the life of Sedalia and Pettis County. As an officer and chairman of the board of the J.A. Lamy Manufacturing Company and Elliot Management Services, Mrs. Swearingen was very interested in her family's business endeavors. Mrs. Swearingen was active in all aspects of the life of Calvary Episcopal Parish where she served as a past and current member of the vestry.

From 1974 to 1978, Mrs. Swearingen was a member of the Missouri Arts Council. From 1979 to 1984, she was a member of the Board of Regents of Central Missouri State University. From 1981 to 1984 she was chairman of that board. Her activities in the arts were many. She spearheaded the original fundraising for the renovation of Liberty Center and served as a member of the Liberty Center's board, serving several years as president. A co-founder and board member of the Sedalia Community Theater, she was an organizer, actress and director of many theatrical performances.

Mrs. Swearingen served the community as a member of the library board and the airport board. She was a licensed pilot. She was a past president of Sorosis and the Heard Memorial Club House board. She was a member of Chapter BB, P.E.O and the Helen G. Steele Music Club. Following a family tradition, she was a long time member of the board of directors of the Melita Day Nursery. When the nursery moved to State Fair Community College, Mrs. Swearingen, serving a second term as president of the board, coordinated the move into the new facility. A trustee of the May H. Ilgenfritz Trust from 1998 to 2008, Mrs. Swearingen interviewed students and awarded college scholarships. She had a personal interest in each recipient as she followed the progress of their education.

An avid reader, Mrs. Swearingen was a co-founder of the No Name Book Club and the Canterbury Book Club. She and her husband enjoyed world travel for many years.

Also surviving are a sister Elisabeth Stafford Whyte, of Raleigh, N.C.; two sons, Stafford McKee Swearingen and wife Gena, of Sedalia, and John Reid Swearingen and wife Lori, of Sedalia; grandchildren, Kathleen Ryan, Brenton Ryan and Stafford Hawkins Swearingen, Glen Reid Swearingen and Sara Linden Swearingen.

The body was cremated. A private family inurnment will take place at a later date in Crown Hill Cemetery.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, at Calvary Episcopal Church, with Father Bill McVey officiating.

The family will receive friends from 7 to 8:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 8, at McLaughlin Funeral Chapel.

The family suggests memorial contributions be made to The Virginia Stafford Swearingen Trust to benefit Calvary Episcopal Church, in care of McLaughlin Funeral Chapel or Calvary Episcopal Church.