Obituary: Barbara Winchester Swords, 87, of Elmhurst
Mrs. Swords left an indelible mark on the community and Elmhurst College English students, who will remember her as a mentor and friend.
Elmhurst community members will be paying their respects this weekend to Barbara Winchester Swords, a 60-year Elmhurst resident, dedicated volunteer, mentor and friend.
Swords, who joined the Elmhurst College faculty as an English professor in 1960, died peacefully on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at age 87.
A tribute to her on the Elmhurst College website notes her "significant impact on not only the hundreds of students she taught, but also the college itself" in her 30 years of teaching.
"She taught during the women's rights movement and worked to increase support for and influence by women on the faulty, mentoring new female professors and serving on a number of academic committees," according to her daughter, Susan Swords Steffen, an Elmhurst College faculty member and director of the A.C. Buehler Library.
Barbara was named professor emeritus in 1996, and remained a strong supporter of the college. She established the Robert W. Swords Memorial Fund, named for her husband, which assists the college's honors program, the English Department and the library.
In 2010, she received the college's Founders Medal for her commitment to Elmhurst.
“Barbara Swords was a strong, intelligent and forthright person,” said Elmhurst College President S. Alan Ray. “I feel privileged to have known her.”
Visitation will be held from 3 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4, at Ahlgrim Funeral Home, 567 S. Spring Road in Elmhurst. Elmhurst College will hold a memorial service at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at the Frick Center, 190 Prospect Ave.
Read the tribute to Mrs. Swords on the Elmhurst College website.