Carolyn Swearingen

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Carolyn Swearingen DECEMBER 23, 1924 - December 21, 2012 Harriett Carolyn Flinn Swearingen was born in Cameron, Texas December 23, 1924 to Fontaine Edward Flinn and Irene Cheeves Flinn. She was reared near Driscoll, Texas, on El Rancho Colorado; the farm established in the early 1910's and managed by her father on behalf of the Cameron-based Flinn family. After attending elementary school in Driscoll, she moved with her parents in 1937 to Corpus Christi to complete junior high and high school, graduating at the age of sixteen as class president. After a year at Stephens College and with the onset of World War II, she transferred in 1942 to the University of Texas at Austin. She was elected President of her Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, and oversaw the admission of its first Jewish pledge. In addition to her membership in Orange Jackets, UT's honorary women's service organization, she was inducted into the UT chapter of Mortar Board, a national honor society. She completed a degree in Sociology, with minors in Economics and Anthropology. Throughout her student years in Austin she was active in the University Baptist Church, whose minister advanced many early social justice and civil rights initiatives. She recounted the dangers she experienced traveling across southern states alongside multi-cultural students. She was one of only ten women admitted to Yale Divinity School in 1945. There she met Alfred Frederick Swearingen. They married in 1946, and resided in Utica, New York, New York City, and Cranbury, New Jersey, where he served as a Presbyterian minister. Their first two children, Jan and Scott, were born in New York City; Kathy, Leah, and Stewart were born in Princeton, New Jersey, after the move to Cranbury. While in Cranbury, she organized a summer day care and Bible school for the children of migrant farm workers who harvested New Jersey crops each summer. Her fluency in Spanish was an enormous asset in working with the migrant workers. In 1956 the family moved to Corpus Christi, Texas, when Rev. Swearingen was called to serve at Parkway Presbyterian Church. She was active in many volunteer and service activities during their 25 years in Corpus Christi, including the YWCA, Junior League, Planned Parenthood, and the local Mental Health and Mental Retardation agency. Her fluency in Spanish once again proved helpful during the civil rights movement in the 1960s. She chaired the city-wide committee formed to oversee the peaceful integration of the Corpus Christi schools. As president of the local YWCA, and in collaboration with Parkway Presbyterian Church, she helped the committee foster a number of multicultural exchanges that achieved social change. She continued to be active in civil rights and was instrumental in integrating Del Mar College. When Life Magazine came to Corpus Christi to report on this event, the YWCA, then under her leadership, was commended for its role in facilitating integration. Beginning in the 1970s she served on the National Board of the YWCA in New York City for more than a decade. In that same period she qualified for hospital licensing as a pastoral counselor, and served as a chaplain at the public hospital in Corpus Christi, where Spanish fluency was needed. After retiring to Santa Fe in the 1980's, she served on the Session of the First Presbyterian Church and on the Ghost Ranch Foundation Board. She was an active member of the residents' association at El Castillo, the retirement home she shared with Fred Swearingen until his death in 2004. Her son Frederick Stewart Swearingen predeceased her in 1998. She is survived by four children: Jan Swearingen of Bryan, Texas; Scott Swearingen and wife Chris Wismer of Santa Fe, New Mexico; Katharine Swearingen and husband Kurt Kirchoff of Haslett Michigan; and Leah Swearingen, of San Diego California; two grandchildren: Ben Jacobs-Swearingen of Columbia, Maryland; and Sophie Joy Swearingen Kirchoff, of Haslett, Michigan. The family is grateful for the generous affection and attention given their mother by the staff and caregivers at El Castillo, and the Hospice nurses and doctors who provided exceptional care to her and the family during her last months. Services will be held at First Presbyterian Church of Santa Fe at 11 a.m. on January 14, 2013, with a reception immediately following. Memorial contributions may be made to the YWCA of Corpus Christi, Texas, c/o Linda Breland, 4601 Corona St., Corpus Christi, TX 78411. Berardinelli Family Funeral Service 1399 Luisa Street Santa Fe, NM 87505 (505)984-8600 Please sign our guestbook for the family at: www.berardinellifuneralhome.com

Funeral Home
Berardinelli Family Funeral Service
1399 Luisa Street Santa Fe, NM 87505
(505) 984-8600
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