Velma Lucille Swain

Velma Swain

Velma Lucille (Fugate) Swain, 86, passed away peacefully in her sleep on July 26, 2017, due to heart failure, after only a few hours at Cottage of The Meadow. Velma was born on September 16, 1930, in Coleman, Texas, to Claude and Lucille (Ballard) Fugate. Her family migrated to Southern California in 1931, where she was raised by her maternal grandmother, Susie Ballard. In 1949 she met Henry A. Swain, and they were married in 1950. They had two children, Tina and Arnold. In 1957 the family left California and relocated in Yakima, Washington.

In 1962 Velma graduated from the LPN nursing program at Yakima Valley College. She loved nursing and she was proud to wear her nurses’ cap. She always said she “earned” it.

During our school age years Mom and Dad took us camping most every weekend at Bumping Lake. Mom even hunted for bear with Dad and his bear hounds. She was very brave and she successfully bagged her bear. This photo with Velma and the bear was taken outside the office of the Yakima Herald, by a staff photographer. This photo appeared in the Yakima Herald and later on the front cover of Full Cry magazine.

Velma and her husband Hank raised and raced homing pigeons from the late 1960’s to the early 1970’s. They belonged to the Yakima Valley Racing Pigeon Club, where Mom served as club secretary for several years, until Dad’s health forced him to quit racing pigeons. Mom and Dad also loved Yakima Meadows Race track, watching and betting on the ponies. Mom won more daily doubles than any handicapper. She was very good at picking long-shots.

After Dad passed, Mom began to do a lot of traveling. She loved traveling, alone, with family, or with special friends, and she always had a great time. She traveled by train, plane, automobile, motor home, and by cruise ship. She visited every state including Alaska and Hawaii. She also visited both Canada and Mexico. She enjoyed how civilized the Canadians were. Her last traveling adventure was in December of 2016 when her daughter Tina took her on a three-week motor home trip to California.

Velma loved going to the Legends Casino with her daughter-in-law Janice. She almost always came home a winner. Just like with her scratch offs, which she loved, she almost always won. She was an avid reader. Her favorite books were about lady detectives, and she was thankful to Inklings Book Store for ordering her books.

Velma was also very patriotic and proud to be an American. She was a Daughter Of The American Revolution. She was the proud widow of a U.S. Navy veteran, the proud mother of a U.S. Navy veteran, the proud grandmother of a U.S. Navy veteran and the proud great-grandmother of a U.S. Marine veteran.

Velma is survived by her daughter Tina Swain Martin; son Arnold and daughter-in-law Janice; grandsons Howie (Shannon) Swain, and Chris Swain; great grandsons Dylan (Christina) Swain, Alec Swain, Logan (Lexi) Swain, Jake Swain, Jaxon Swain; great granddaughter Josie Swain; great-great grandsons Cohen and Grayson Swain; great-great-granddaughter Payton Swain; sisters Shirley (Wayne) Hill, Betty (Roy) Hudson; brother Bob (Irene) Reeves. And many beloved cousins, nieces, nephews, and a few old friends.

Velma was preceded in death by her husband Henry (Hank) A. Swain, her parents, sister Laura Mae, brothers Claude (Bud) Fugate Jr., Bill and Pete, and by most of her old friends.

Velma had two Schnauzer dogs that she adored and spoiled. Topper and Suzie. When Suzie passed away recently, it broke her heart and Mom never stopped grieving over losing Suzie. In the last few years of Velma’s life her daughter Tina was her full time caregiver. Mom, and the family, were very grateful for the care Tina gave her.

Mom was the oldest living person in our family. We really didn’t believe we were going to lose her, she had such determination, and strong will to live. Losing our mother, who gave us life, is the hardest experience in our life.

There will be a small family service at a later date.