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Betty Gene Swize Pawelek
Betty Gene Swize Paw elek, beloved wife, loving mother, doting grandmother, caring sister, aunt, and friend went to be with the Lord on Saturday, April 12, 2014. Gene, as most called her, was born to Charlie and Martha Swize of Hobson, Texas, on Feb. 26, 1934.
Gene was a devoted wife and mother. She supported her children at school and in the community by being active in PTA, Band Boosters, and Athletic Boosters, and was an avid sports fan. She valued education and encouraged each of her children to pursue their interests and to complete college degrees. Gene was a devout member of the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. She also held the office of Regent of the Catholic Daughters and was a lifelong member and officer of the Altar Society.
Gene graduated from Falls City High School in 1951. She was drum major, played basketball, and was class valedictorian when the Falls City Beavers 6-man football team won regional, the highest level of competition for school size at that time. She and Johnny were high school sweethearts whose courtship included Saturday night dances, movies, and being with family and friends. Johnny was drafted in 1952 and sent to Korea in May 1953. During his 13 months of service, Gene lived with her aunts in San Antonio and attended Incarnate Word College, where she studied business. She worked at Westinghouse. They married in September 1954 and started a family shortly thereafter. They made their home in San Antonio until they moved to the ranch near Poth in 1960. Gene was a mother, homemaker, rancher, gardener, cook, and family accountant. When Mary, their youngest, entered school, Gene re-entered the work force as a substitute teacher. She later had a 20-year career with the Farmers Home Administration, where she retired.
Gene’s passion was her family and having fun together. She celebrated every birthday and holiday with flair. She taught her children how to dance (including the two-step, polka, and the Twist) and how to entertain. She gave the best bunco parties, luncheons, and showers. Each was planned with great thought for the comfort and enjoyment of her guests. She prepared delicious meals from fresh vegetables grown in the garden. Her children and grandchildren, who loved to be Grandma’s helpers, learned how to make special treats such as coffee cake, cinnamon rolls, donuts, cookies, pies, and cakes. Her Thanksgiving dressing and chicken and dumplings are legendary. Gene’s kitchen was filled with the aroma of freshly baked bread and other delights. She made sure there was always an abundance of food on the table. Gene loved working outside in the garden and flowerbeds. She canned, froze, and pickled much of what they grew. Her flowerbeds were filled with blooming petunias and roses. Gene was comfortable with being a rancher and would check calving heifers while Johnny was at work. After they both retired, they enjoyed evening rides in the Ranger, looking at their cattle and wildlife.
Gene fought a long and courageous battle with diabetes and related health problems. Her determined spirit, faith, and positive attitude were never more evident than during her recent illness. Her family would like to thank all who helped care for Gene, and all who provided support to the family during this time.
Gene is survived by her husband of 59 years, Lambert “Johnny” Pawelek; their five children, Denise Chidgey and husband David, and daughters Brooke and the late Sarah, Michelle Rogers and husband Lee, and children Skylar and Colton; Steve Pawelek and wife Pam, and children Jillian Roundtree and husband Steve, Stephanie, Kyle, Sean, and Katie, Charles Pawelek and wife Brenda, and son Avery, and Mary DiNovo and husband Andrew, and sons Jack and Beck.
Visitation was held Tuesday, April 15, from 5-7 p.m. with a rosary at 7 p.m. in the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Poth.
A Mass in celebration of her life will be held on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. in the church.
Offering the gifts at Mass will be her grandchildren, Brooke Chidgey, Jillian Rountree, Stephanie Pawelek, Skylar Moran, Katie Pawelek, Jack DiNovo, and Beck DiNovo. Serving as pallbearers will be her grandsons, Kyle Pawelek, Sean Pawelek, Colton Moran, and Avery Pawelek; and her nephews, Preston Pawelek and Paul Pawelek.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Diabetes Association, www.diabetes.org.
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