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November 26, 2005

Newspaper obituaries are never "fun" to read in the conventional sense, but they can be informative. Such it was last week when the deaths of J.W. Shepard and Collette Swearingen were announced. Both were solid citizens, and we can never recover such losses.

J.W. was one of the first in Perry to install central heating and cooling systems in businesses and residences. I remember when we bought such a system from him, back in the 1950s. He said, cautiously, that it might cost as much as $1 per day to operate such a system. Turns out he was right. Only the cost was slightly higher than he estimated. J.W. was always ready to make a service call, although those were rarely needed for anything he installed.

Meanwhile, his wife, Phyllis, sold us on the virtues of RCA brand names on audio and TV equipment, to the point where we normally asked for the name on anything they made. J.W. and Phyllis were a good team.

Similarly, the death of Collette Swearingen was announced in Stillwater. She was the widow of the youngest Swearingen brother, Dean, and she was a true artist. After the death of her husband a few years ago, she and their children moved to Stillwater, and she died there. Collette was a gifted musician and teacher, a graduate of Oklahoma College for Women, and her father, Lee Roy, was secretary-treasurer of the Perry Rotary Club when I was president. The family was composed of good people, and we'll miss them.