Gwendolyn Bean Swindall was born November 1, 1939, and passed away on May 30, 2013. She was preceded in death by her parents, Rodgers Maxwell “Jelly” and Emma Louise “Dixie” Stengel Bean.
Gwen was the descendant of a German pioneering family. Her great grandparents were Peter and Emma Jordan who settled on Upper Willow Creek in Mason County in 1856. Her grandparents were George and Louise Stengel, who were prominent members of the Menard community.
Gwen grew up during a time in Menard’s history when the West Texas town was booming with commerce and culture. Her father “Jelly” Bean owned and operated Bean Drug, the town’s pharmacy. Gwen often worked as a soda jerk, serving up treats for her peers.
She attended Menard schools and was active in many clubs and activities including the Menard Band where she was twirler and drum major. In 1958, Gwen graduated from Menard High School, briefly attended Texas Tech University before transferring to the University of Texas at Austin, where in 1962 she earned her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education.
Upon graduation from UT, Gwen married fellow Texas Ex and Mason native John Henry Hofmann and lived in San Angelo from 1962 until 1980. She put her education degree to good use as a teacher at Travis Elementary School. Gwen was active in the Junior League of San Angelo where she volunteered with the Thrift Shop and Community Theatre.
After moving to Menard in 1981, Gwen married Horace LaVaughn “Banner” Swindall. Once her children left for college, she returned to teaching at Menard Elementary School where she taught for 14 years. During that time, she served as Math Specialist, coached UIL literary teams and directed the Menard High School One Act Play where she successfully led her students to many thespian awards.
Gwen loved the communities in which she lived and found ways to serve and improve them through non-profit work. While in Menard, she served on the Menard County Sesquicentennial Ditch Restoration committee, Presidio de San Saba Restoration Committee, Taste of Ol’ Menardville Committee, was active with the Menard Bridge Club and on the board of the Menard Country Club.
Gwen was proud of her service as a board member of the Menard Library Club, which was recently successful in its fundraising efforts to construct a new public library. Gwen adored books and was an avid reader, claiming to have read every book in the Menard Public Library. She did not limit her adventures to the written word. Always an adventurous spirit, Gwen loved to travel and see the world. She visited many destinations across the United States, Mexico and Europe.
Gwen coveted her “girls’ bridge weekends,” bringing laughter and fun to every trip. Though she was not blessed with sisters by birth, she considered her girlfriends “sisters by choice” and adored each of them, just as they did her.
A lifelong Methodist, Gwen was a Christian who loved the Lord. She was proud of her heritage and of her large extended family. We will forever miss her humor and quick wit.
Gwen is survived by her husband, Banner Swindall of Menard; her children, John Banks Hofmann and wife, Shannon Slack Hofmann of Liberty Hill; Suzanne Hofmann Erickson and husband Stephen Erickson of Austin; Kirk Wayne Swindall and Kyra Key Swindall of Ft. McKavett; her grandchildren Grant James Hofmann, Emma Jane Hofmann and Rhett Wellborn Hofmann; John Carpenter Erickson, David Stengel Erickson and William Elias “Eli” Erickson; Jake Tyler Swindall and Kaylee Brooke Swindall. She was predeceased by her son, Jake Wade Swindall.
Honorary pallbearers were her brothers and first cousins whom she loved so dearly: George Rodgers Bean and Robert Maxwell Bean; Toni Thompson Hurlbut, Judy Thompson Hunter, Claude John Thompson, Suzanne Stengel McInnis, Dick Stengel, and Kathy Stengel Spencer.
A Memorial Service took place at the First United Methodist Church of Menard on Saturday, June 1, at 2:30 pm with a Celebration of Life Reception immediately following at the Menard Public Library.
The family would like to thank the Menard EMS and ICU Doctors and Nurses at Shannon Hospital. Our family is immensely grateful for the care and kindness you showed us during this difficult time.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Library Club of Menard, PO Box 282, Menard, TX 76859, the Menard EMS or the charity of your choice.
Arrangements by Heritage Funeral Home, www.heritagefuneraltx.com.