A Memorial Get Together was held at the Dye House, Willamette Heritage Center, Salem Oregon, on Sunday, June 2. It was a gathering of many wonderful folks; family, friends, former co-workers and others that celebrated her amazing life. 

This website was created by family and friends of Heidemarie. Her passing is a huge loss for so many people, because she touched all of us with her warmth, and caring ways. But maybe most of all, her love of life and the people in it. 

Please share some thoughts and stories about her. And come back to the site in the future so as not to forget her. 

Posted by Mary McSwain on January 10, 2020
Heide was like a sister to me, Do. Like you, I miss her terribly and think of her often. All we can do now is, as you say, raise a glass to her, laugh a little and have fun. I have many fond memories of times with her.
I will honor her memory by trying to whine less and instead follow her example. "Life can be so sweet on the sunny side of the street."
Posted by Dorothea Schneider on January 8, 2020
You slipped away into the nothingness a year ago today. There was no more medical miracle to be had. We all miss you. If there were an afterlife, I think you’d be shouting down to us: “Hey, have a glass a of wine for me, laugh with a friend, and have some fun! But damn, remember me.” We do.
Posted by Dorothea Schneider on January 6, 2020
I miss Heide; everything about her. I could always call her and just chat and laugh and we’d make jokes about our family. It was always just so easy being with her. She was a great sister.
Posted by Sue Belknap on January 5, 2020
Ich würde dir heute Kuchen bringen, wenn ich könnte. Jeden Tag denke ich an dich und wie du das Leben geliebt hast. Ich vermisse dich mein Freund.
Posted by Patricia Pierson on January 5, 2020
Dear Heidi,
Neil and I will always miss you and your joyful outlook on life. You were just naturally a fun person to be around. A bright light left us when we said goodby to you.
Posted by Walter Howard on January 5, 2020
Dear Heide
Your spirit and your zest for life lives on in the memory of your friends.
Love, Walter and Irene
Posted by Richard McSwain on June 3, 2019
We had a fine party for you dear Heide. A lot of people came, ate, drank, and some told stories about you, saying mostly nice things. You would have loved it. Hope you felt some ripples of love in the cosmos.
Posted by Wolf Schneider on June 1, 2019
Liebe Heide,
Ich schreibe diese email von Deutschland - unser Heimatland. Wir denken auf dich und vermissen dich Jeden Tag.
Der Ralf hat uns Bilder geschickt, von Papa und die erste Frau und Willi und Marianne , wo sie noch jung waren! Es ist schade das wir noch nie diese Bilder gesehen haben. Es ist doch egal dass ich dass auf Deutsch oder Englisch schreibe. Dieses ist fuer dich.
Dear Heide, 
I am writing this von Deutschland - our homeland, and we think of you and miss you everyday.
As we are hiking in the Alps we reflect on the good memories we have of you and Richard hiking with us. Of Richard drinking water even though the sign said "Kein Trinkwasser" i.e. Do not drink this water. In Italy where we had the best "Linzer Tort" since our childhood days. Going swimming in the Heidelberg "Schwimbad" , when we were kids, where I almost drowned because a kid pushed me into the deep section of the pool. You tried to save me, but hell you couldn't swim either. Of course no lifeguards were present to pull us out of the water. That's the way it was, and is still today.
Going swimming in the Neckar River, where we changed into our bathing suits, out in the open at the edge of the river, just like the other Germans! No shame because "that's the way it was done"!!
When we heard the cry " die Zigeuner sind hier" (the gypsies are here), and everybody in the apartment building double locked their doors. Where our "mutti" had her fortune told, that we will move to America, which we eventually did!!!!!!!
Ralf sent us some pictures of our father with his first wife and Willi our half brother (who was lucky to escape from East Germany) and Marianne , our half sister , who we met only once because she was "trapped" in East Germany.
We are not physically at your memorial service, but we will be with you in thought.
Rest In Peace, Wolfgang und Marie
Posted by Barbara Rubin on May 28, 2019
Well Heide, we are all getting together this Sunday to remember you, and talk about you and how much we miss you.
I have not known what to say here so have put it off and put it off. I can hear your voice now telling me, "if you're going to do something, you might as well jump in and do it!" (kind of like the Polar Plunge).
The fact is, you were just too big a presence and influence on me to feel like I can put it into just a few words.
We are going to miss the hell out of you Sunday. You played such a large part in getting us all together over the years. I am sure we will feel your presence and hear your laughter. I can see you smiling now, your eyes sparking with life and mischief. I will always remember you this way. 
Thanks to all for the great photos on this site. Richard, you have some talent as a photographer. I think you really can give up your day job.
Posted by Patricia McSwain on May 15, 2019
Some people are described as "larger than life", and Heide truly was. She had a powerful personality and presence. She was expansive in that she welcomed and included everyone. She made great effort to keep our far-flung family members connected by visiting and throwing parties and generally showing us what is truly important in life.  Heide, from you we learned to seek adventure, travel, read, always learn something new, try to look on the bright side, plant pretty flowers, be silly, laugh a LOT, grab life with both hands, and share the love! You were a great inspiration to us all, and we will carry you in our hearts and smile every time you come to mind. We all loved you so very much.
Posted by Consuelo Kammerer on March 22, 2019
Heide and Richard are such good sports. We live in an old cabin and Tom made a bed just for her because she was coming to visit us. She and Richard slept in the bed and said it fine. Then my brother-in-law came to visit and he complained the bed was too hard for him. I slept in the bed and boy was it hard. This was just a few months ago and I was telling Cindy this and how hard that must have been for Heide, and Cindy said, Heide told me she loved your place and she was coming back. Heide had so much adventure in her and she’s so tough. Definitely the Queen of the neighborhood. I miss her. You’re tough too, Richard.
Posted by Richard McSwain on March 21, 2019
It's heading toward yard care season, my dear. I will try to keep your yard up, but it may fall a bit short of your standards. Please be patient. Your yard misses you terribly, and so do I.
Posted by Richard McSwain on March 7, 2019
It's tax season, dear. I've just added another reason to miss you to the many, many others. My dear sweet tax preparer.
Posted by Wolf Schneider on March 4, 2019
Heide and I talked almost. She would call me while sitting in her hot tub early in the morning Oregon time  which was about 9 AM EST. I talked to Heide on January the 4th, one day before her birthday. She was in good spirits and we had a few laughs that only Heide and I could laugh about. Many times Richard and Marie would look at each other while  Heide and I laughed about an issue. We just had the same sense of "humor". German maybe????
It is difficult for me to acknowledge that she is gone. I had no idea that January the 4th would be the last time I talked with her.
She has left a huge hole in our life.
Others have already posted some comments that Heide was just a good person. She was honest, considerate, caring, determined and full of life. She accepted her illness with strength and vigor. She only slowed down toward the end, but she never complained- she dealt with her issue stoically.
Of course in our youth we had some "disagreements" about "whatever" was "important" in those early years. When we sold out mom's house Heide's "footprint" was still embedded in my bedroom door. She intended to kick me, but I slammed the door just as her foot hit it (and not me). We tried to fix the hole with filler and that darkened patch was still there when we sold the house 50 years after the event!!!
Posted by Mary McSwain on February 26, 2019
Heide, you will always be here in my heart. I have always admired your amazing accomplishments – teacher, master gardener, world traveler, teller of jokes, perpetual student of first-year Spanish and art history, caller out of bullshit when she sees it. But your matriarch role in keeping friends and family connected has been your finest accomplishment.
We miss you terribly, my dearest Heide. But what a life well lived! Brava! Well done. You have left us all with such wonderful memories.
Posted by Shaanette Frederiksen on February 23, 2019
It is rare in life to have your heart touched by another...
We had such a number of amazing experiences including paddling down rivers, gathering to celebrate special Holidays, pulling weeds in the garden and knowing when to stop for a glass of wine.
The joy of being engrossed in conversations full of laughter, wisdom and integrity.
I had the privilege of sharing a birth date with Heide, making our birthday that much more significant. Of course, as a Capricorn, maybe she had the privilege of sharing the date with me too.
She always reminded us to stay grounded, not over extend ourselves and find humor along with beauty in everything.
We will miss her quick wit and jovial stories of the many mishaps along the bumpy road of life.
Heide will always be in our hearts and will continue to live in our memories as we raise our glasses to a beautiful soul.
Love always - Jon, Shaanette and McKenna
Posted by Stephanie Howard on February 20, 2019
We will carry your passion, humor and kindness.
Thank you for loving us.
Posted by Linda Willnow on February 18, 2019
Heide inspired me with her love of learning, travel, friends and life in general. She and Richard were always warm and welcoming and made a point of keeping friendships active and vibrant. I miss her.
Posted by Sue Belknap on February 17, 2019
Thank you Heide for sharing your life, family, humor, smarts, and stories with us. I will forever appreciate you and Richard for letting me into your lives. You made things better and continue to do so because all the work of your life had a lasting impact. There is not a day that will go by that won't include some part of you.
Posted by Consuelo Kammerer on February 14, 2019
I will always remember Heide for her hospitality, her generosity, her love of food (and wine), her excellent cooking, her ukulele playing, singing, and love of music, her curiosity, her kindness. She was smart, tough, and fearless. Heide was a caring and fun person and a good friend. She loved it when i called her “My Queen”, and that she was.
Tom Kammerer
Posted by Russell Dobrowski on February 12, 2019
Heide was such a wonderful woman, funny, smart and so very kind. Always had good times whenever she was around. She will be deeply missed.
Posted by Al McSwain on February 11, 2019
Richard, you and Heide were inseparable. She was a force of nature and possessed of more innate courage than anyone I ever knew. What a loss. You guys were also the glue in our extended family, which, of course, includes many friends as well. I'll always love the wise and frank Heidemarie. 
Al Jr
Posted by Richard McSwain on February 11, 2019
I know Heide would not particularly appreciate this music. (Sorry dear). I am working on how to add some more suitable background music. Alas.
Posted by Walter Howard on February 8, 2019
I have known Heide and Richard (sounds like one word to me) for well over 50 years. We have shared all the important moments of our lives together.
Heide was the most honest person I've known (no need to guess what she was thinking). That honesty was matched by her interest and caring for the people she loved and who loved her. I will miss Heide a great deal but I will continue to share those important moments with her.
Posted by Walter Howard on February 7, 2019
Our lives were intertwined through high school, college and dating our future spouses. Marrying best friends we established life long relationships. Heide became god mother to our first child and she and Richard were a fixture in the lives of our family. We were separated by distance but never disconnected.
I will miss her unique personality and generous heart. Rest in peace dear, old friend.
Posted by Peter McSwainpp1843mm on February 6, 2019
I will miss you and will try to help Richard through his incredible loss.
Posted by Ed Busch on February 5, 2019
Heide & Rich are special friends. Since we moved to Sequim, WA. in 2010, they have visited the most of all our family and friends. We always enjoyed many laughs and much wine. Heide was to be admired for her ability to rise above and simply enjoy life. Her wisdom, wit and caring will never be forgotten.   Sharlene & Ed Busch
Posted by Jack Shenker on February 5, 2019
We will always remember all the vacations and outings we had with Richard and Heide. Each one was an adventure. She was always fun to be with and had an attitude toward life that we admired. We will especially miss her sense of humor and her smile.
Posted by Jacqueline Barrington on February 4, 2019
Heide, I still have the picture of you and I in your silver Honda convertible up on my wall. I titled it "Girls Just Want To Have Fun". And fun we did! Every time I'm driving our Honda Del Sol convertible I'll be thinking of you driving yours around in Heaven, singing that song. Such fond memories - you are missed Dear Lady! Love, Jacque
Posted by Chris Gasperini on February 4, 2019
Hiede and Richard have always welcomed Larry and I with their annual McSwain family reunion. Hiede had a lust for life, a good story and adventure. I loved listening to her talk but mostly laugh! It was contagious! She will be sorely missed. Rest In Peace dear lady and Richard, tons of hugs to you!
Posted by Michael Reddington on February 4, 2019
Heide fought an unbelievable battle with tremendous courage.May she rest in peace
Posted by Patricia Pierson on February 4, 2019
We will miss Heide so much. There was always a smile and a brilliant quip from her that made you laugh and smile. Neil will never forget the kind friendship extended to him by both of you. It was always a fun time when she stopped in for a visit at our house here in Lake Oswego.. You are missed by everyone you touched.
Posted by Consuelo Kammerer on February 4, 2019
I miss hearing Heide talk to her sister at
5 or 6 in the morning while she was in the hot tub.
Posted by Dorothea Schneider on February 3, 2019
I miss my older sister so much. I miss the Friday evening telephone gab sessions, which included lots of self-mocking hilarity. I miss the funny stories we’d tell each other, and hearing about trips and family and projects. I miss seeing Richard and Heide together. I wish Heide could have had many more years enjoying herself in this world. But she will always be alive in my memory.
Posted by Richard McSwain on January 31, 2019
And your garden and flowers also miss you and need you.
Posted by Richard McSwain on January 31, 2019
Your gone, and I am realizing on a daily basis how much of a hole that leaves in my life. I will try to focus on the wonderful life we had together, sweet memories. I love you dear.

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Mary McSwain on January 10, 2020
Heide was like a sister to me, Do. Like you, I miss her terribly and think of her often. All we can do now is, as you say, raise a glass to her, laugh a little and have fun. I have many fond memories of times with her.
I will honor her memory by trying to whine less and instead follow her example. "Life can be so sweet on the sunny side of the street."
Posted by Dorothea Schneider on January 8, 2020
You slipped away into the nothingness a year ago today. There was no more medical miracle to be had. We all miss you. If there were an afterlife, I think you’d be shouting down to us: “Hey, have a glass a of wine for me, laugh with a friend, and have some fun! But damn, remember me.” We do.
Posted by Dorothea Schneider on January 6, 2020
I miss Heide; everything about her. I could always call her and just chat and laugh and we’d make jokes about our family. It was always just so easy being with her. She was a great sister.
her Life

A Brief Account of a Full Life

On Tuesday, January 8th, 2019, Heidemarie "Heide" Anneliese McSwain, retired teacher and loving wife of Richard McSwain, passed away peacefully at the age of 72 in Salem, Oregon. Heide was born in 1946 in Heidelberg, Germany to Caroline and Josef W. Schneider. The family, including siblings Wolfgang, Dorothea and Cornelia, emigrated in 1956 to the U. S. Heide graduated from Somerville High School in New Jersey in 1966, and received her B.A. In history from Douglass College of Rutgers University in 1971. She later completed her M.A. In education and had a long career as a special needs education teacher at Garfield Elementary School in Corvallis Oregon.

Heide loved her challenging work with children and their families, and was honored with the Arc of Oregon Teacher of the Year award in 1983. Heide had a passion for life which expressed itself in many ways. She had a life-long interest in learning, whether it meant taking classes for self-enrichment, taking Ukulele lessons, becoming a Marion County Master Gardener, or exploring arts and crafts. With her husband Richard and their many friends, Heide loved to hike, canoe, and travel around the country and abroad. Her passion for living was never more apparent than in her valiant 15-year fight against Multiple Myeloma. Despite her illness and frequent treatment, Heide kept her positive attitude. She was very appreciative of the excellent medical share she received. And she enjoyed her life, friends and family right to the end.

Heidemarie McSwain was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by her husband of 49 years, Richard McSwain of Salem, Oregon; brother Wolfgang Schneider and wife Marie of Hillsborough, New Jersey and their children Kurt Schneider and Christine Saus; sister Dorothea Schneider and husband Reinder Van Til of Chicago, Illinois; sister Cornelia Schneider and husband Erik Swenson of Mercer Island, Washington and their son Kai Swenson; and half-brother Willi Schneider and wife Marie-Louise and their son Ralf of Germany. 

Donations in honor of Heidemarie McSwain can be made to Marion-Polk County Food Share. A gathering of family and friends to celebrate Heide's life will be scheduled for later in the spring of 2019.

Recent stories

Two great girls gone now

Shared by Richard McSwain on September 17, 2020
Well dear, it's September 2020. Wildfires are burning the state up, a pandemic is raging, the economy is in the tank, and Trump is headed for re-election. We all could use your cool perspective and sense of humor in these times. 
But on a sad note, your favorite dog Coco, the dog faced dog is gone. We will all now miss both of you.

The Rare Third Stem Cel Transplant

Shared by Richard McSwain on May 2, 2020
Heide had a stem cel transplant early in her battle with multiple myeloma. Then 5 months later she had another as part of a new clinical trial at Oregon Health Sciences U. In the harvesting process, they ended up with three packets rather than the customary two. This gave her an extra they said would be tossed. We suggested keeping it to use later. They said it was unusual but might be worth a try so they put it in the freezer in the lunch room near the chicken salad and ice cream sandwiches.

In 2017, 11 years after the first two, Heide did her third stem cel transplant. None of her doctors knew of any other patient that had had that many. She ended up in an unusually large room on the 14th floor of the Kohler building with a great view to the east as you can see. So for a brief while, her hospital activities almost felt like a delux vacation, although I wouldn't and I suspect she wouldn't recommend it.

The Girl Knew How to Work a Room

Shared by Richard McSwain on February 23, 2020
Heide loved attention. She loved to be in the center of it. Particularly when she was the reason for a party. Birthday parties, good bye parties, holiday get togethers, you name it, she would really liven up and have fun. These pics are, I think, with her work group in Garfield school in Corvallis, Oregon, in spring of 1985. (I'm going through old albums).
It seems a hundred years ago. But it looked like fun.