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Yvonne Dodwell

Obituary Condolences

Yvonne Dodwell Obituary
Yvonne Dodwell

Yvonne Marie (Burlison) Swearingen Dodwell passed away on November 7, 2012. She leaves behind three children: Dean (Audrey) Swearingen, Leander, TX, Dawn Swearingen, Aurora, MO, Nancy Morey, Pequot Lakes, MN. She also leaves six grandchildren: Robyn (Lance) Hardin, Matthew Swearingen, Jessica (Matthew) Done, Ryan (Emily) Swearingen, Jacob Morey, Melissa Morey, and three great grandchildren: Zachary Done, Olivia Done, and Myla Hardin. She was preceded in death by her first husband, Jerald Swearingen, her second husband, Vernon Dodwell, and her beloved dog, Joy.

Yvonne leaves a great legacy of leadership and community involvement to her descendants and all who knew her. She was born on December 6, 1932, in the middle of a blizzard and struggled to overcome Scarletina (now called Scarlet Fever). The doctor said it might be a blessing if she did not live because she would surely be an idiot, but her mother cared for her with onion poultices and she survived. She lived to prove the doctor wrong, and was inspired to pursue a lifelong career in nursing.

From 1950-1953 Yvonne attended the St. John's School of Nursing in Springfield, MO, during which she spent her third year interning at the St. Louis State Hospital's Malcolm Bliss Mental Health Center. She served as the public health nurse for Lawrence County in the 1960's and she went back to school from 1971-1980 and graduated from Drury University with several academic honors. Her nursing positions from 1959-2004 included several institutions in Missouri: the Mt. Vernon Tuberculosis Sanatorium, the Aurora Community Hospital, the Lawrence County Nursing Home, and the Mt. Vernon Veteran's Home. She spent the longest part of her career in home nursing care (1979-1996 and 2001-2004). During these decades of faithful service to the community she also established the St. John's home care branch at the Aurora Community Hospital (1982), and facilitated the establishment of respite care in Republic through the South Missouri Office on Aging.

Yvonne was the first woman elected to the Aurora City Council. She served the last year of her first term on the council as mayor.

It was special to Yvonne that she was baptized the same day as her father, on Easter Sunday, when she was twelve years old at the First Christian Church in Mt. Vernon. She was always active in church. It was in her church that she served through singing, teaching, and serving on the church board.

Yvonne was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis in 1999 and thereafter moved to Minnesota to spend two years living near her daughter, Nancy.

Her dearest friends in this life were Sammie Turner, Loretta Dobyns, and Helen Falmer, whom she called her earthly angels. She loved her family and spoke very fondly of them to all who would listen.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, November 12, 2012, at the Fist Christian Church of Mt. Vernon with burial at the Mt. Vernon IOOF Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 10:00-11:00 a.m. in the church, prior to the service. Memorial donations may be made to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation in care of the funeral home.

Online condolences may be shared at

Published in the News-Leader on Nov. 9, 2012
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