Obituary for Sophie M. Perkins (Szwandrok)
Sophie M. Szwandrok Perkins, 100, of Hummelstown, passed away on Monday, October 3, 2016, in Frey Village Retirement Center, Middletown.
Born on February 16, 1916, she was the daughter of the late John and Mary Szwandrok, who immigrated from Poland just before the First World War. They came to this country hoping for a better and safer future. They had four daughters and one son. They worked as laborers in a paper bag factory. Although they never learned to speak English, their four daughters did, and with their help the family was eventually able to purchase their own home. It was a different time and each daughter had to leave school after the 8th grade because they needed to work and contribute to the family income during the hard times of the Great Depression.
Sophie, known to her friends and family as “Swanee,” later attended business school at night and worked as a bookkeeper and eventually managed a country club office. She was the youngest and last of her four sisters to marry and did so at the age of 29. She and her husband Jim had two children, Terry and Bonnie. They were happy and immensely proud to see their children graduate from college and attain their own professional goals: Terry of becoming a career Air Force Officer and later an airline pilot and Bonnie a Montessori teacher who now owns and operates her own Montessori school.
Swanee and Jim worked hard, eventually owning and operating a small business, where the whole family pitched in to make it successful. Swanee and Jim retired to Florida when they were 64 and 62. In retirement they enjoyed travel, fishing in the Gulf of Mexico on their boat and attending Tampa Bay Buccaneer football games. It was a happy few years until Jim became disabled at age 65. Over the next 20 years Swanee, and later Bonnie and her husband Ray and their children, Callie and Ian, managed his care, which made it possible for Jim to remain at home. Even through those tough times there are good memories of trips taken together; grandchildren playing in grandpa’s electric wheelchair or driving his electric cart around the neighborhood; Friday night card games with pizza, much laughter and best of all a time to be close, in loving support of one another.
The lessons learned from a wonderful mother, grandmother, wife, sister, aunt, daughter and friend, during 100 years of life, are invaluable. She taught by example and lived a life of fairness, honesty, strength in adversity and most of all love of family and friends.
Thank you, Mom. We will miss you . . . forever. But we also carry you with us and your example continues to guide us as we navigate our way through our own lives. We all love you.
The Manning and The Perkins Families
Online condolences may be shared at www.trefzandbowser.com.