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Gwendolyn "Tippy" Schwabe


1926 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Gwendolyn "Tippy" Schwabe Obituary
Gwendolyn "Tippy" Schwabe

October 1, 1926 - March 29, 2018

Gwendolyn Joyce "Tippy" (Thompson) Schwabe died on March 29, 2018 at The Quadrangle Retirement Community in Haverford, PA, where she had lived for 20 years. Born and raised in Faribault, MN, Tippy was the 2nd of four children of Ada and Albert Thompson, South Dakotans of Norwegian heritage. She is survived by her sister (Joann Youngstrom), Joann's family, and the families of her sister and brother who predeceased her (Damaris Copperud, Thomas Thompson); her daughter and son, Cathy and Christopher Schwabe, daughters- in- law Virginia Sorgi and Lael Schwabe; grandchildren Alexis Kurland (Abbie), Adria Kurland (Ryan), Nina Bennett (Garrett) and Anya Schwabe; and great grandchildren Henrietta and Faye Faust, Morgan Kurland Faust, Clementine Gallagher, Aria Macgowan and Taj Bennett. She was married in 1951 to Calvin W. Schwabe who predeceased her in 2006.
Tippy graduated from St. Olaf College and received a Master's degree from the University of Hawaii where she met Calvin who also was a graduate student. An accomplished educator, she developed and directed the English as a Second Language (ESL) program at University Of California (Davis) and, as a faculty member at UC Davis, taught English as a Second Language and Applied Linguistics for over 30 years. Prior to the years in Davis and while at Davis during sabbaticals, she taught at Wellesley College (Massachusetts), the American University of Beirut and Beirut College for Women (Lebanon), Ahfad University College for Women (Omdurman, Sudan) and Lanzhou University (People's Republic of China).
Tippy and Calvin joined the Society of Friends in 1954 and were active members of the Quaker meetings they joined in the many places they lived. Finding their way to Quakerism as a couple, through reading and self-inquiry during their years in Alabama when Calvin was in veterinary school, though both were from quite different religious upbringings, was one of the many ways in which their common qualities of being seekers, creators of community and believers in the equality of all peoples wove a deep bond through their long and very special marriage.
Over the years, Tippy gave generously of her time and talents to many organizations including the Society of Friends, Head Start and CATESOL. In her retirement, her passion for education and belief in the importance of educational opportunities led her to volunteer in a Philadelphia inner city classroom to teach reading to, as she put it, a group of "very wriggly little children" and then, for many years and well into her 80's, to hold weekly conversation classes for non-native adult speakers of English in Haverford.
Tippy was an avid reader, a natural story teller and enjoyed lively conversation on almost any topic. She was a lifelong learner with deep curiosity who was interested in people, other cultures and customs. Tippy was a great listener, a valued mentor and ongoing supporter of women and young people both professionally and personally throughout her life. She and Calvin entertained often, welcoming people into their home wherever they lived, including over 30 summers in the old stone farmhouse they restored near Denia, Spain. She had a rather daunting sense of adventure - she termed it being rather naïve - and loved to travel, which she enthusiastically continued with her sister Joann even into her last years.
A memorial gathering will be held at The Quadrangle auditorium, 3300 Darby Road, Haverford, on Saturday, May 5th, at 3:00 p.m. A reception will follow. A service in Davis, CA, where many friends and family live, will be held in late September. Please contact [email protected] for more information for the Davis service. Donations may be made in her name to the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), www.afsc.org or .

Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Apr. 20 to Apr. 22, 2018
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