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Barbara Louise Swain

Louise quietly passed away November 17, 2016, at the age of 87. Born in Longview, WA, she was the second of five children born to Joe and Barbara Marx. As a teenager, her family moved from the “city” to a small rural community of Rice, WA, where they lived on a ranch with no running water and an outhouse. Louise moved to Salem after high school to pursue a business career. She met her husband Dick Swain in Salem and they married in 1952. Dick and Louise celebrated 58 years together before his passing in 2010.

The young couple moved to Wenatchee, WA and started their family. They moved again to Spokane to be closer to Louise’s four brothers and their families. In 1964, Dick got a job at Raytheon and the family relocated one last time to Santa Barbara.

Louise worked as a legal secretary/Paralegal for 20 years in Santa Barbara. She was a member of the Santa Barbara Legal Secretaries Association and is a founding member of Channel Cities Legal Assistants Association (now the Santa Barbara Paralegal Association). Louise earned her Paralegal Certificate from the UCSB Extension Paralegal Program in 1982 while working full-time. Louise retired from Schramm and Raddue in 1992 after 16 years in their Probate Department. Although retired, she was never out of the legal loop and regularly lunched with the “legal gals.”

In retirement, and spurred by her volunteer work with the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society, Louise began actively researching the Marx and Schweigert families (which took her research to Odessa, Russia), as well as her husband’s family the Thimmes and Swains (Dick’s namesake being one of the original purchasers of Nantucket Island). A born storyteller like her father, she took writing classes from Adult Ed. and began writing stories of her life on the ranch in Rice, her four brothers, growing up in the 30’s and 40’s, and her life in California.

Louise is of a generation that didn’t complain. She worked hard, took care of her family, and lived a bit of the American Dream. She loved her little home on the cul-de-sac with its window in front (so she always knew what was happening on her street) and winter sun in the back to curl up with a good book. In retirement Dick and Louise traveled, played with their grandsons, walked on the Wilcox property, lunched at the Breakwater Restaurant, and enjoyed the fruits of their labor.

Louise was an avid reader (something she passed on to her three daughters), and often read books long into the night. She read the newspaper everyday to keep up with the world, scissors in hand to clip an interesting tidbit, a recipe, or an Anne Landers to pass on. She was a dedicated letter writer keeping in touch with family, childhood friends, old neighbors, and those she met along the way. Her home office was filled with 70 years of cards, letters, and later emails (along with boxes of those clippings). She was a generous hostess and welcomed everyone into her home.

Louise had a beautiful smile and a cute little giggle, which we miss. She had a lovely singing voice, which was fully discovered and enjoyed by many after her move to Villa Riviera. Even though she suffered short term memory loss, she lived her last few years with dignity and grace and with a smile on her face. We are so proud of her and miss her dearly.

Louise is survived by her daughters Patty (John) Jernejcic of Gig Harbor, WA, Paula (Paul) Ryan and Janet (Marc) Alexander, both of Santa Barbara, grandsons Casey and Connor Ryan, and Jacob Alexander, brothers Jim Marx and John (Lois) Marx, sisters-in-law Betty, Vivian and Jan, and numerous nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her husband Dick, her parents, her brothers Joe and Don, and sister-in-law Helen.

The family would like to thank everyone at Villa Rivera for all their care, love and support of Louise (and us) during the last five years Mom was in residence there. Words cannot express our gratitude. The family would also like to thank Assisted Caregiver Services, Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care, and Doctors Mietus and Uyesaka for their excellent care for Mom. We feel truly blessed that Mom was always surrounded by such compassionate, loving and caring people.

A celebration of life will be held March 3, 2017 at Harry’s Plaza Café from 2:00-5:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Louise’s name to Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care or to the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society.

Arrangements by McDermott-Crockett Mortuary.

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