On November 29, 2022 Heaven gained a sweet and sassy angel when Pearl Helen (Dieffenbach) McMillan passed at the age of 103 years. She was a resident of Windsor, Colorado.
Pearl was born April 30, 1919 in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. As a young girl she worked on her family’s farm as well as for other families. She was educated in a one room schoolhouse.
On March 16, 1935 Pearl married Tom Swanger. Pearl and Tom eventually settled in Kendall, New York with their five children-Dolly, Ruthie, Ethel, Sonny, and Bernie (aka Butch). Pearl worked at diners and drugstores as well as on their family farms. The couple also performed for folks at local venues by singing and playing guitars. Pearl was known for her amazing yodeling abilities. Even in her final days she talked about how much she enjoyed entertaining.
Family reunions in the summer at Grandma Pearl’s house on Barry Street in Brockport are among her grandchildren’s fondest memories. White hots, live music (often performed by hers truly), and swimming in her pool until the kids’ fingers were more wrinkled than Grammy Baker (Pearl’s mother) were standard fare. A typical holiday gathering at Grandma Pearl and Grandpa Norm’s included the men drinking Genesee beer and the ladies sipping their grasshoppers and pink squirrels as they played cards. Shouts of “Euchre!” probably still echo in many family members’ memories. Pearl loved her family dearly.
After twenty-five years working at Kodak, Pearl retired in 1979. In 1982 she and Norm moved to Florida.
Pearl was involved in numerous organizations over the years, including the Ladies Auxiliary of the VFW and serving on the committee of her retirement village. She cherished her friends and community at Glenwood Estates in Largo, Florida. After Norm passed in 1986 Pearl found companionship with a neighbor who had also lost his spouse. Pearl and Andrew Scott were married in 1988.
Pearl moved to Windsor, Colorado in 2003. In 2011 she moved to Bright Assisted Living in Windsor, where she was well loved by all. While residing there she would lead everyone in saying the Pledge of Allegiance each morning, and she made certain the flag was hung out on the front porch properly. She remained active-walking every morning no matter the temperature, playing bingo, and even taking a spin on a ferris wheel at one point. Thank you to Windsor Fire and Rescue and everyone involved who helped make her wish for her 100th birthday of riding in a hot air balloon a reality. And thank you to everyone at Bright Assisted for making her final years so beautiful. She loved and appreciated you all.
Pearl was a positive, lively lady with a wonderful sense of humor who will be greatly missed. When asked how she was, she’d often reply, “Fat, ragged, and sassy!” If love could have kept her here on earth, Pearl would have lived forever.
Pearl is survived by her brother Richard Baker (Lisa), daughter Miriam Steffen (Walter), sons Wayne Swanger and Bernard Swanger, many grandchildren, and many more great grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, and great-great-great grandchildren. Pearl is also survived by her step-daughter Pat McMillan. In addition to her husbands, Pearl is preceded in death by her sister Ruth and brothers Francis, Herbert, and Junior, her daughters Ruth Schultz and Ethel Tobey and grandchildren Deb Steffen, David Steffen, Barb Adolph, Dennis Steffen, and Butch Swanger.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Bright Assisted Living of Windsor, Colorado in Pearl’s honor.