In Remembrance of Eileen Swett
Eileen Marie Swett (maiden name Sherbeyn), co-founder of the Ralph and Eileen Swett Foundation, passed away peacefully in the presence of her family on August 26th, 2016.
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. Handy with all sorts of tools and undaunted by any task, she met many of her family's needs by making them herself, including her kids' wooden sandbox and the family picnic table. In lean years, she undid the seams of hand-me-down clothes and sewed her children beautiful new clothes from those of their cousins. 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 and family tasks even though it meant she was often up late and 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 this private foundation with the goal of making a difference in individual lives. 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.
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.