Barbara Winchester Swords, 87, died at home in Elmhurst, surrounded by family and friends, on Oct. 23, 2012. Born on Feb. 1, 1925 in Chicago, she graduated from the University of Chicago in 1947 and taught in the English Department at Elmhurst College from 1960-1989 until her retirement. She excelled in both teaching and mentoring and supporting her students and her faculty colleagues. After her retirement, she continued to support Elmhurst College through the Robert W. Swords Memorial Fund and was awarded the Founders Medal in 2010. She also remained active in the Elmhurst community, serving as the library board observer for the Elmhurst League of Women Voters and leading a study that called for the construction of a new public library.
She was married for 58 years to Robert W. Swords, and is survived by her daughter, Susan Swords (Joseph) Steffen of Oak Park; her son, Stephen; her brothers, John W. (the late Ellen) Winchester and James T. (Judy) Winchester; her grandchildren, Faith Swords, Jason Swords (Kate Cooper) Steffen, Shannon Swords, Emily Swords Steffen and Zoe Swords; and her great-granddaughter, Clara Swords Meinrath.
Memorial visitation at Ahlgrim Funeral Home, 567 S. Spring Rd., Elmhurst will take place from 3 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4. A memorial service is planned for 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 1 at Elmhurst College in the Founders Lounge of the Frick Center, 190 Prospect Ave., Elmhurst. Interment was private.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Barbara and Robert W. Swords Memorial Fund at Elmhurst College.