Wendy Elizabeth Swartley, 74, of Harrisburg, passed away on Sunday, October 9, 2022 at Arden Courts of Susquehanna nursing facility following an eight-year struggle with dementia. Though the last decade of her life was difficult, she continued to show kindness and love to all those around her, especially her husband of 38 years, Ronald A. Swartley.
She was the daughter of David A. and Margaret (Barclay) Stewart, born on April 12, 1948 in Winchester, Ontario. Her family moved to the US when she was young, growing up in Waynesboro before moving to Central PA, where she graduated from Cedar Cliff High School, Camp Hill (’66). She went on to Mansfield State College, earning a degree in education, and she began her career with Upper Dauphin School District. Two years later, she would take a job with the West Shore School District, embarking on a 35-year career in music education; she would teach at Fishing Creek Elementary, Red Land High School and New Cumberland Middle School.
Wendy loved her husband and her students, and these two components of life were responsible for her constant smile. She was fun and sassy as a teacher, but her students adored her because she took a genuine interest in each and every one, going above and beyond when she could sense a child in need. She was her husband’s best friend and sidekick, and the manager, voice coach, choreographer and backup singer for his show – the Ronnie Allyn Show. Ron, an Elvis impersonator, was a staple in the yearly New Cumberland Halloween Parade, and Wendy would ride shotgun, dressed as Elvira. The two visited Graceland every year, where they were fortunate enough to have met some of the Presley family.
She was a talented piano player, and she maintained this ability despite her cognitive issues later in life. She was artistic and enjoyed painting, and she and Ron were active members of the Blue Moon Cruisers car club. They attended St. Catherine Laboure Catholic Church in Harrisburg, and Wendy’s faith in God was ever-present.
She lived to teach and help her students, and this was evident as the years went on. No matter where she went, a former student would spot her and run up to say hello. She had a way about her that was comforting and supportive, and her husband, especially, will miss her tenderness and warm heart.
In addition to her husband, surviving Wendy are her step-daughters, Kym Fuss and Tami Swartley, both of Harrisburg, and Deb Dinunzio of Palmyra; granddaughters, Heather, Amanda, Britney and Marissa; five great-grandchildren; brothers, Daniel B. Stewart (wife, Ann) of New Cumberland and Kevin A. Stewart of Lewisberry; a nephew, Anthony Stewart (wife, Stephanie) of Los Angeles, CA; and a great-niece, Ember.
A memorial service will be held at 6:30PM on Tuesday, October 18, 2022 at Parthemore Funeral Home & Cremation Services, New Cumberland. A public visitation will be held from 4:30PM until services begin in the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a contribution in Wendy’s name to the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org, an organization founded to promote the treatment and possible cures for all forms of dementia.