Mary Kathryn  Swanteson

Events

Mary Kathryn ("Kary") Heatly Barker Swanteson went to be with our Lord on March 28, 2019. Kary would disagree that she shared the qualities of the Greatest Generation, but her humility makes the description all the more compelling. Her life's story, by God's grace, is one of courage, strength, and
perseverance.
Born on the Fourth of July, 1920, the only child of Mary Katherine Stafford Heatly and Homer Vinson Heatly, Kary was raised in Mangum, Oklahoma where her father and his brothers owned cotton gins. As the effects of the Depression worsened, Oklahoma was hit by the Dust Bowl of the 1930s that devastated the cotton industry. Kary graduated in 1938 from Mangum High School and in 1941 received a BA degree in English and Speech from North Texas State Teachers College. During World War II, Kary was a Junior High School English, History and Speech teacher.
Near the end of the war, Kary married Gates Rickard Barker of Ranger, Texas. At the age of 25, Gates was one of the youngest Majors in the history of the Marine Corps, and fought for four years in the Pacific Theater, participating in the battles of Tarawa and The Philippines.
After the war, Gates entered Tulane Medical School in New Orleans where Kary was a model in motion picture ads appearing before the main feature, since as a married woman she was barred from teaching. Always a beauty, Kary appeared in ads for cars, refrigerators and washing machines. After medical school, Gates and Kary made their home in Cleburne, Texas, where Gates was a General Practitioner and Kary was a homemaker and volunteer in the community and in their beloved church, Holy Comforter Episcopal. Kary was a frequent presenter of book reviews in Cleburne and surrounding communities.
After Gates' death in 1973, Kary moved to Dallas and was a faithful caregiver for her mother, Katherine Heatly, who lived with Kary for 16 years. In 1980, Kary married another wonderful man, Carl Helmer Swanteson. Together they traveled and enjoyed many activities in Dallas. Kary always loved to learn and teach, and served as a docent at both the Ft. Worth Museum of Science and History and the Meadows Museum of Art in Dallas. After Carl's death, Kary moved to Austin in 2013 to live with her family.
Kary's family is so very thankful to the Lord for her long life, even though for the last twelve years she was afflicted by total blindness. An avid reader, this loss of sight was a particular hardship for her, but the enduring courage, dignity and grace with which she lived was an inspiration to everyone. She never complained. Everyone marveled at her positive attitude and peaceful acceptance of her condition. Kary's sharp intellect and wit were also hallmarks of her personality. She loved history, art, good books, good conversation and God's Word. She especially loved the company of friends and family. She was adored by all who knew her.
Kary is predeceased by her parents, husbands and several dear cousins. She is survived by her children and their spouses, daughter Kay Barker Enoch and husband, Craig, of Austin and son Rick Barker and wife, Valerie, of Round Rock; by her step-daughters Catherine Swanteson of Bryan, Christy Swanteson and husband, David Stones, of Round Rock, and Carol Swanteson of Dallas; by her grandchildren Gates Enoch and wife, Kelli, of Dallas, Kathryn Enoch Welch and husband, Hunter, of Austin, Claire Barker of Round Rock, Dan Stones and wife, Emily, of Denver, Colorado, Katie Vedlitz and husband, Will Patton, of Austin and Carl Stones and wife, Sarah, of Indianapolis, Indiana; by her six great-grandchildren; by her cousin Stanley McAnelly and wife, Jackie, of South Lake; and the many children and grandchildren of her beloved cousins.
Kary will be buried in Cleburne (Rosehill Cemetery) on Friday, April 5th at 1:30 p.m. and a memorial celebration of her life will be held in Austin at The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd on Saturday, April 6th at 2:00 p.m. Her family will be forever grateful to Kary's dear caregivers, Geraldine Powell and Kristen Powell, who lovingly cared for her for many years. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, 3201 Windsor Road, Austin, Texas 78703 or to Helping Hand Home for Children, 3804 Avenue B, Austin, Texas 78751.
As children and grandchildren of the Greatest Generation, we pray for God's grace and strength to follow their remarkable examples.
Published on April 1, 2019
Send flowers
in memory of Mary Kathryn
See more

Obituary published in

Arrangements by

Guestbook

Print Guestbook

A place to share condolences and memories.

Share your condolences and special memories.
The guestbook expires on June 30, 2019.

Select an emblem

1 posts

JoAnn Smyth
Apr 03, 2019
Kay, so sorry to read of your sweet mother's passing. I will be with you in spirit in Cleburne on Friday as I will not be able to be there in person. Fondly, JoAnn