Alice Gene Swartzell
Alice Gene Swartzell, age 93, passed away on July 20, 2020 at Houston, Texas. She was the widow of Randall Wayne Swartzell (d. Oct. 29, 1995) m. Dec. 28, 1946. They shared 49 years of marriage together. One of her most cherished possessions she kept to the end was a letter he wrote her from the hospital in the early 1960's when nearly on his deathbed.
Born on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, 1926 in Hannibal, Missouri, she was the daughter of Manly Amiel Burgher and Laurel Emma Alice Dunbar Burgher O'Neill (mostly known as Emma O'Neill). In her youth during the Great Depression she grew up in the Milwaukee area and graduated from Waterford (WI) High School in 1944. After high school, she found work at a drug store where she would be found by her future husband, who got her attention by leaving $0.01 tips. She spent the rest of her long, full life caring for her family.
She was an avid genealogical researcher for 60+ years and self-published her book Kaleidoscope: History of the Burgher-Dunbar Families, donated to the State Historical Society of Missouri. Thanks to her research she became a proud member of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). She enjoyed volunteering at local libraries and Christian Helping Hands, and was a life long avid reader particularly of history. She loved gardening, and especially her flowers (which her husband loved to photograph). She did much of the work remodeling the family home – stripping and refinishing furniture, doors and woodwork. She liked to bowl and played a mean game of sheepshead (and if she had a beer or two was almost unbeatable). She also loved music including country, pop, opera and big band. She will be remembered for her kindness, humor, hospitality, and lemon bars, and never finding a puppy she didn't like (including Isabel the leg-humping chihuahua making Christmas memorable).
She is survived by sons Michael A. (Evelyn) and Patrick A. (Teresa), grandsons Joel Swartzell and Peyton Swartzell, great grandchildren Penelope Mendoza and Jaxx Arnold, and her numerous decorative birds, especially the cardinal. She was predeceased by her parents, husband, brother MGS Sgt Fred Burgher (USM, Ret.) and his widow Cathy Burgher, and nearly all of her generation in the extended family.
She donated her body to University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) to help further medical education. There will be no memorial service due to many of her friends having no opportunity to attend due to residing in living facilities still on lock down for COVID-19. Upon return of her ashes they will be spread (location to be determined) in a private ceremony.