Home‎ > ‎

In Remembrance of Eileen Swett

Eileen Marie Swett (maiden name Sherbeyn), age 79, passed away peacefully in the presence of her family on August 26th, 2016 as a result of complications related to her long-time rheumatoid arthritis.   Eileen was born in Kewanee, Illinois on April 2nd, 1937 the third child (of four) and only daughter of John F. Sherbeyn and Dora Huffman Sherbeyn.   She was preceded in death by her parents and three brothers: Donald Sherbeyn, John (Jack) Sherbeyn, and Ralph Sherbeyn. 

Eileen is survived by her husband, Ralph Joseph Swett, of Austin, Texas and daughter, Robin Wooten and her spouse, James Wooten, of Lenexa, Kansas and their children: Paul Wooten and his spouse, Carolina Kupferman, Amy Marks and her spouse, Joseph (Pacifico) Marks, and John Wooten; son, Michael Swett and spouse, Patty Swett, of Austin, Texas and their children: Kelli Swett, Traci Swett and Bayli Swett; son, Timothy Swett and his spouse, Sue Burke of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida and their children: Lucy Swett, Aidan Swett, May Swett, and Clara Swett; and son, Jeffrey Swett and his spouse, Marla Swett, of Austin, Texas and their children: Parker Swett and Trevor Swett.   Eileen is also survived by her beloved sisters-in-law: Jean Rose of Galva, Illinois, Anne Sherbeyn of Canton, Illinois, and Marie Sherbeyn of Galva, Illinois as well as many loving cousins, nieces, and nephews and a host of long-time good friends.

Eileen taught her family all the important lessons in life without saying a word by simply living them out.  Having learned to work hard without complaint through her early life on the farm, Eileen continued to do that her whole life.  In lean years, she undid the seams of hand-me-down clothes and sewed her children beautiful new clothes from those of their cousins. Handy with all sorts of tools and undaunted by any task, she made the family’s wooden sandbox, picnic table, and even the floor of an attic so it could be used for storage. She used her creativity and eye for color and beauty to fashion treasures from cast offs found at thrift and consignment stores creating a beautifully welcoming home for her family, then kept it spotless.  When Ralph’s business responsibilities required extensive traveling, Eileen seemingly effortlessly handled all the home tasks even though it meant she was often up late, then back up early the next morning to do it all again.  She continued working hard even when her body was twisted by rheumatoid arthritis, all the while never breathing a word of complaint.

Putting her faith into action, Eileen was always generous with her time and treasure.  She was the Team Mom of many of her sons’ sports teams and continually volunteered in support of Catholic churches and schools.  She organized her church festivals doing most of the baking for the pie-eating contests and cake walks herself.  Her dinner parties were so amazing that they were consistently among the big dollar items in the school auctions. When times were no longer quite so lean, Eileen and Ralph followed their faith in generously helping others – most often without breathing a word to anyone.  In 1999, she and Ralph set up a private foundation with the goal of making a difference in individual lives.   One of the primary means they found to do this was by supporting various adoption charities.  In 2012, Eileen, along with Ralph, was named an Angel in Adoption by the US Congress’ Coalition on Adoption for the Foundation’s work in helping over 400 orphans get adopted.

However, perhaps the most important lesson Eileen taught her family was how to love.  Eileen found the very best in each person she met. By believing the very best of each person and loving them – she lifted them and caused them to continue to strive to be their best and to reach even further.  She never complained about anyone’s difficult days or spread a word of gossip. In return, Eileen was loved deeply by many.

The highlights of Eileen’s last months included holding hands with the love of her life, her husband of 58 years, Ralph, who stayed constantly by her side and all the reminiscing, love, and laughter resulting from the continuous visits of her family including her twelve grand-children. She took special joy in hearing of her grand-children’s accomplishments, sports involvement, hopes, dreams, as well as all their plans including those for college, new jobs and the weddings of two of her grand-children.  She treasured each note, each picture, and each minute with her family just as they treasured each minute with her.

Dear Eileen – beloved wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, daughter, cousin, and friend – you were so amazing that we were always aware of what a treasure we had in you. We knew you were an angel, and now you really are.

A Mass to celebrate Eileen’s life will be held at St. John Neumann Catholic Church, 5455 Bee Cave Road in Austin, Texas at 11 a.m. on September  22, 2016.   A visitation will begin at 10 am and a luncheon reception will be held immediately following the service in the Church’s Morris Hall.   In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations may be made in memory of Eileen to the Gift of Adoption Fund to further the cause that she held so dear.   Online donations may be made at: https://giftofadoption.org/donate/. These donations may be designated in memory of Eileen, by typing “Eileen Swett” in the space marked "Donate in honor or memory of:”   Donations may also be mailed to the Gift of Adoption, PO Box 567, Techny, IL 60082.  Checks may be made out to “Gift of Adoption Fund” with a note that the funds are for the Eileen Swett Memorial Fund.