Monday, February 18, 2013

Photo Album

We've started an online photo album of Alice and Charles Swingle here.

so sorry...

To the Family of Alice Swingle,
I am so very sorry for your loss. 

Mrs. Swingle was my first grade teacher and one of the nicest, most caring people I have ever had the privilege of knowing.  My mother, now passed, (Evelyn Davis) was a second grade teacher and a friend of Alice's.  It was nice for me to be able to see her through the years as I would come to see my Mom.  She always had a beautiful smile for me, for everyone.

I remember her classroom,  our "reading lessons", the felt board with the letters and animal cutouts we could play with.  She was a wonderful teacher, a wonderful person who will, I'm sure be missed by many.

May God comfort you and give you strength in this time of sorrow. 
Sherry Davis Rowberry
"Unable are the loved to die.  For love is immortality"
{Emily Dickinson}

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Kind and friendly

I met Alice while visiting with Pastor Jim Larsons.
She was sure a kind and friendly lady! She was a blessing to be around.
I'm glad to have had the joy of being able to visit with her!
Cindy Page

Old school picture

Joyce and Rich,
I mentioned on Rich’s Facebook post that my mother has been working on a Photo book and slide show for the Phoenix Historical society on the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Fern Valley school. My mother has indicated when she completes the presentation she will put it on a DVD and I will be sure and send you a copy. In the meantime she has sent a copy of a 1923 school picture that included Alice. I missed being at the service yesterday but my Mother and Brother said it was a very fitting tribute.
You are all in my thoughts and prayers

The Memorial Service

Here are links to some of the things Rich mentions in the sermon:

A truly amazing woman

I want you to know we are sorry for your loss. Your grandmother was a truly amazing woman.  Our thought and prayer are with you and your family.
(daughter of Leonard Ferns)

Lessons from Grandma

The night before grandma passed away I had a dream. I was walking through a field of wheat. Every grain was a memory of grandma, and the field stretched back to the time I was just a sprout in the ground. In most of my earliest memories grandma is there, cultivating in me the values I hold most dear. She may have retired from being a teacher before I started school, but she never stopped teaching.

It was my great fortune to grow up on the land that my grandparents began farming in 1940. Only much later in life did I learn to appreciate the powerful influence they had on my life. In an age of individualism, few get the opportunity to learn life lessons from a generation that survived so much together. With each passing member we lose a bit of that knowledge, but the values they imparted on us help to guide us to a life enriched by the things that really matter . . . family, friendship, and the joy of a simple life lived well.

I learned to play the piano on the upright grand that grandma bought just before she married grandpa. I would get off the bus after school at grandma & grandpa's place and grandma would have a snack waiting for me. I knew that when the snack was done, the practicing would begin. As any young boy would do, I sought distraction out on the farm . . . checking on the frogs in the pool, the pigeons in the barn and the cats in the hay. Eventually, I would end up in the old sequoia. I would climb so high that I could see over the top of the barn and the branches started getting thinner than my wrist. I could see forever and I could hear grandma tracking me down. The piano would not play itself. She always had a song in her voice, so I knew exactly where she was. "Robert!" she would call between humming verses. Out around the corral she would go, back through the orchard. After teaching for 35 years and raising two farm boys, I'm sure she knew exactly where I was. She wasn't forcing me to learn the piano. She was giving me the opportunity to find the desire to learn. She taught me the lesson of a lifetime of learning.

When I was in the seventh grade I came home sick from school. The doctor thought it was the flu, but grandma knew better. She could tell that something was wrong. It was within 24 hours of visiting a specialist that a surgeon removed a cyst from my brain. When I came home from the hospital it was grandma who nursed me back to health. She was always giving of herself. I owe her my life. She taught me the lesson of compassion and nurturing.

One summer when grandma and grandpa were still in their home Shannon and I helped them with their garden. We planned out what to plant . . . tomatoes, green beans, lettuce, cucumbers, corn, peppers. Grandma & grandpa knew exactly where everything should go and what it would need to grow. We tilled the soil, planted the seeds, then watered and weeded. When it came time to harvest, the fruits of our labor were sweet. The sweetest thing we took home from that summer, however, was the memory of spending time with them. When they didn't think we were looking, we would see them walking hand in hand through the orchard, giggling like two little school children. They had a relationship that lasted nearly 70 years. The lesson from grandma I cherish the most is that she taught me how to love.

Bob Swingle

Friday, February 15, 2013

Peoria, IL

Oh, my heart goes out to as you prepare for your grandmother's funeral! May the Lord give you His strenth and His peace. Praying for your family. May it be a true celebration of Alice Swingle's life.

From people in our church

Joyce pastors Westchester Chapel Church of the Nazarene, and the following condolences were sent by people in our church...

So sorry to hear about your grandmother.  We pray comfort for you and your family.

Dear Rich, I'd been praying for you through this time, knowing what was coming... I find myself here thinking of losing Mom and Dad and the amazing support all of WCCC family was isn this time, allowing me to take the journey of grief while feeling fully supported in the fullness of the loss, the gap in my world, being able to revisit their lives and to celebrate the joys. I pray this for you. Know you are loved and it's been a privilege to journey in prayer for you and your family and loved ones.

Thinking of you and wishing you peace at this difficult time. "They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion; they will rejoice in the bounty of the Lord--the grain, the new wine and the oil, the young of the flocks and herds. They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more."--Jeremiah 31:12

from Atlanta

I'm so sorry for your loss!  Such a long, full life.  I will be praying for you.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

From New York City

So sorry, Rich, to hear about the loss. Condolences to you and your family.

Blessings from England

Bless you and Alice. May she rest in peace. God Bless you all. 
Gina Atkinson
Solihull, England

Alice Swingle


Alice Swingle, a lifelong resident of the Rogue Valley, passed away February 11, 2013 at Rogue Regional Medical Center. She was 97.

Alice was born to her parents, Alfred and Jenny Hensler in Fern Valley on May 22, 1915. She grew up along with her three siblings on her parents' farm and orchard and learned the values of work and family at an early age. She attended schools in Fern Valley, Phoenix, and Medford and graduated from Phoenix High School.

She continued her education, graduating with a two-year Education Degree from Ashland Normal School, now SOU. She then began a teaching career that spanned more than 30 years. She was not only a lifelong educator, but also was a lifelong learner. She continually increased her knowledge and teaching skills through college classes, graduating with a four-year degree from SOC in 1964. She met the challenges of a variety of instructional positions, including teaching in one-room rural schoolhouses, substitute teaching in various elementary grade schools, and finished her career as a first grade and then resource teacher in the Phoenix-Talent Unified School District. She touched the lives of many students along the way, and retired in 1977.

Alice met her husband Charles O. Swingle, many years before they married. Charles started working for Alice's father when he was 15 and Alice was 9. Charles left to pursue other interests but eventually returned to work for her father 13 years later. A romance that would last for nearly 70 years began. He proposed to her on Valentines Day 1938 and they married the following June 1st. They lived together and raised their family on a farm in Fern Valley that they purchased in 1940 in partnership with Charles' brother Ralph.

Her parents Alfred and Jenny; her siblings Florence, Mary, and Tom, and her husband Charles preceded Alice in death. She is survived by her sons Charles R. Swingle and wife Judy and Fred A. Swingle and wife Mina. Her legacy continues with surviving grandsons Richard Swingle and wife Joyce, Robert Swingle and wife Shannon, Jeffrey Swingle and wife Angela, and granddaughter Wendy Swingle. In 2010 Robert and Shannon blessed her with her only great-granddaughter Amelia Ferne. Many nieces and nephews also survive. Anyone who can trace his or her ancestry back to the pioneering Ferns family is most likely related.

Alice was a 50-year member of the Phoenix First Presbyterian Church and was active for many years in the IOOF Olive Rebekah lodge. She often played piano for various events and services for both organizations.

Alice enjoyed spending time with family and friends. She especially liked being with her children and grandchildren as they grew up. She provided good fun and good food at gatherings on the farm. During retirement she and Charles traveled extensively in a series of different camping vehicles and on cruises. They traveled to Alaska, Mexico, California, Arizona, and throughout Oregon. They often visited friends and relatives on their trips.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, February 16, at 2 p.m. at Jackson House, 300 Suncrest Road, Talent, Ore. Remembrances may be left at

Comments from the Mail Tribune online obituary

Bob Maddox
My sister Becky who is now 56 had Mrs Swingle in first grade at Phoenix, she liked her 
very much, she recalled singing "I'm a little tea pot short and stout........"in class alot, 
you always remember your first teacher.

Patrick Hensler
Aunt Alice will be missed. She always welcomed us lovingly when we would visit the 
farm from Coos Bay. Those visits are prized memories as there was no place more full 
of discoveries: animals, orchard, equipment, barn, and, of course, the pool. 

I love you Aunt Alice.

Iris Stewart
I greatly respected and enjoyed knowing Alice. My love and prayers to her whole family.

Check the obituary to see if more have posted.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


I am so sorry to hear about your Grandmother's passing, and yet I envy her in a good way. In fact, I hear the word "delight". It reminds me of a Bible verse: "In you is all my delight".

May the God of all comfort, comfort Joyce, your family and you, until you all meet again.
Linda Warren
Associate Pastor
Westchester Chapel Church of the Nazarene

Toasting with Grandma

Grandma and I celebrated Cinco de Mayo with virgin Margaritas one year. 

When we were kids we'd get off the bus at their house, so we spent a lot of time with them as kids. 

When Grandpa Swingle was 90 we called to make sure they were trusting in what Christ did for us on the cross. I told them I'd always looked up to them, but I couldn't recall hearing them talk about a relationship with the Lord. Grandma said, "Oh, yes! I have one!" I wasn't a bit surprised. Whenever she wasn't talking to someone she was singing or humming songs, many of which were hymns.

Grandpa's response to my questions was, "I guess I do." I asked him if he were to die if he thought he'd go to heaven. He said, "I sure hope so." I asked him if the Lord asked him why He should let him into Heaven what he would say. Grandpa said, "I don't know. What would I say?" I shared Romans 10:9 with him: "If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. " We led him in a prayer to accept what Christ did on the cross so that he could have assurance of living with Him forever.

Just shy of his 96th birthday I had a booking that had been arranged a year before that put me in Oregon the week that he died. Joyce and I were able to pray with him, read scripture and sing hymns that celebrated the decision he'd made to make Jesus Christ his Lord and Savior. There was a moment when several were in the room chatting. I looked over at Grandpa and he was looking at me with a big grin. I knew he was thanking me for giving him assurance of where he'd spend eternity.

Over the last few years I've done my best to call Grandma every week. On our last call she was in particularly good spirits. When I prayed with her, as I always did, I prayed that she'd share the Love of the Lord with those around her, and she said a hearty, "Amen!" If you feel loved by God right now, then that prayer was answered!

Our last visit with Grandma in January

We are very grateful that we were able to visit with Grandma just a few
weeks ago, when she was bright-eyed and still full of life. Our family
took turns with a bad cold over the Holidays, so January was the earliest
we were able to make it down. We knew that it was important to visit her,
but little did we know it would be the last.
--Bob Swingle

Monday, February 11, 2013

Her Last Pumpkin Days

Alice was so excited to attend Pumpkin Days last October. We're planning to have a memorial moment at next year's gathering of family and friends.

Singing with the Angels

Just a few months before her 98th birthday, Alice Swingle had a heart attack on February 9. Though she rallied and things looked good later that day, she eventually slipped into a coma, and on February 11 she died peacefully at about 10am.

Post to this Site

We hope you'll contribute to this site by posting greetings and prayers for the family as well as stories and pictures.

 To post stories, greetings and prayers send an email to Attach photos to the emails and they'll be posted as well. You can make the subject whatever you want it to be. It will be the subject of the posting. The body of the text will be your story. Let us know as many details as you can about who is in the photo with Alice. Also, please put your name at the bottom of the post so we know who made the contribution.

Be patient. It may take some time for it to appear.

Thank you so much for sharing!