Mary Katherine Piper-Swift-Welch, age 94, of Uvalde, TX passed away on Saturday, July 29, 2017. Mary was born on February 18, 1923, the daughter of Ada Gaines and Max Edward Piper. They resided in Uvalde at 209 W. Nopal Street. She was the sister of Maxine Piper Thompson and Judith Piper Nettles; and the granddaughter of Julius C. A. Piper and Emilie Moye Piper, who were early German settlers in San Antonio, TX.
Her father, Max E. Piper worked in the family business as the manager of F. A. Piper & Co. which was founded in 1877 by Max’s uncle F. A. Piper. One year later George Horner, Mrs. Piper’s brother started working for F. A. bringing goods by ox wagon to their store. George Horner also opened a hardware business with C. A. Piper, Mary’s grandfather in Uvalde’s town square.
Mary took enormous pride in her heritage, collecting articles, sharing stories and covering her walls with black and white photos. As the Horner and Piper legacy put Uvalde on the map with grocery, dry goods, hardware and bank establishments, she was blessed to experience an incredible childhood as this all unfolded before her.
In 1940, Mary married Herbert Aaron Swift, at the age of 17. In April of 1944 Herbert volunteered to serve his country joining the Navy, leaving behind his 3-year-old son, David and 11-month-old daughter, Jo Anna. After only 6 months of service, Herbert, plus 30 of his boot-camp mates met death on the Navy vessel U.S.S. Mt. Hood in November 1944 during World War II.
Her second marriage to Jack Welch in 1950 produced a final child, Jack Welch Jr. or “Jackie”. The family resided in Alamo Heights of San Antonio TX. Mary worked at the iconic Joske’s building in the toy department where she would enjoy lunches on the Riverwalk and strolls around the Alamo.
Devoted to her children, much of her middle age involved countless east coast family road trips due to her fear of flying. She resided with her family for extended stints in Bethesda, MD and Washington, DC. She enjoyed instant coffee, lots of sweets, hair perms, big framed glasses, staying warm, antiques, family history, being silly and had a huge love for all animals.
She is survived five grandchildren; Michael Swift, Allison Swift Kimble, Delia Piper Millner, Lindsay Welch Patterson, and Adam Welch; along with Linda James Swift, daughter-in-law; Thomas Gleim, son-in-law; and Piper Thompson Gerlands, great niece
She is proceeded in death by Herbert Swift, her first husband in 1944 at the age 24 and her second husband, Jack Welch, Sr. “Big Jack” in 1992 at the age of 77 along with all her children; Jo Anna Swift-Millner-Gleim, passing in 1999 at age 55; David Swift, passing in 2015 at age 74; Jackie Welch, passing in 2016 at age 65.
She experienced lots of loss, but her strong will, resilience and stubbornness kept her fighting to live, clinging to what was safe and comfortable to her. In the end, her spirit finally gave way to this physical world saying, ‘this part of your journey is over’. She will forever be cherished!
A memorial service will be held on August 5, 2017 at 11:00 AM at Rushing-Estes-Knowles Mortuary. Cremation is under the direction of Rushing-Estes-Knowles Mortuary.
We're so very sorry. Nana was a great lady. May she rest in peace.
Tom and Becky GleimGaithersburg, MD