In March, the League of Women Voters unexpectedly lost Sheila Swearingen. Sheila was one of our most dedicated members and one of the finest women I have ever known. And isn’t that something that we all aspire to and value in our League membership? Yes, we work hard at our mission to educate, advocate, etc., but life is also measured in the impact we make on each other’s lives. Sheila touched all of us in some way, her colleagues, volunteers, members, soon-to-be members and our senior members.
At her service Saturday at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, I was reminded of the “creed” that is spoken every Sunday, and which I believe another LWV member helped the church adopt many years ago.
Love is the Spirit of this Church,
And Service is its Law.
This is our great Covenant.
To dwell together in Peace.
To seek the Truth in love.
And to help one another.
Sheila lived that to the very last days of her life. Her illness became apparent during a recent volunteer trip to Nicaragua where All Souls has a Micro Banking project. She continued to work, though in pain, and it was only on her return home and CAT scan that it was discovered she had advanced Pancreatic Cancer. She only had a few days. Not weeks, not months. All too soon!
Sheila made an impact in many ways on her community – and the whole world was her community! In addition to her amazing service to the LWV – Board Member and President of the LWVMT and LWVOK – plus every other possible office and job. She also had been the Regional Coordinator and Community Organizer with RESULTS – a non-profit hunger and poverty organization; Director of Religious Education at Hope Unitarian Church; and a Montessori Guide (Teacher). She was active at All Souls with the Green Team and the Social Justice Council and deeply involved with many community groups working to promote voter engagement, racial justice and community oriented policing, including JustHope and the Voting is Power Coalition.