Our lives are an open book that is filled with our daily activities, The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.

The book of life for Ms. Ophelia Gates Swanson opened on February 20th 1907 in Greenville, Meriwether County, Georgia. She was the seventh of fifteen children from the union of the late Sarah Ann Tucker-Gates and Rev. Duncan Gates. Thirteen siblings preceded her in death, leaving a loving and devoted sister, Ms. Dossie Gates.

Mother Ophelia as she is affectionately called, accepted Christ at a very early age, and united with Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church, and was baptized at an early age. She was a faithful member.

Mother Ophelia was educated in the Meriwether County School System where she later worked as a teacher’s assistant.

She met and married the love of her life, Joseph (Papa Joe) Swanson (who preceded her in death). To this union, one child, John Albert Swanson, was born.

Being a virtuous woman and a loving wife, Mother united with Neriah Baptist Church where Papa Joe served as a deacon. She served faithfully until her health began to fail; On the mother’s board and as church secretary until the age of ninety-nine (99). To God Be The Glory!!!

Mother Ophelia, a lifetime resident was truly a Meriwether County Missionary who inspired many leaving a lasting impression upon them by sharing, giving, and always willing to help wherever needed.

She was also a great and proud housekeeper who loved cooking, and feeding her family and guests.

Papa Joe’s death in 1982 forced Mother to become a stronger and more self-reliant woman. She had a fall in December 2007, after which the state of Georgia ruled that she could no longer live alone. (Her son & his wife had to relocate from Detroit, Michigan to become her caretakers.)

She remained self-willed, preparing her favorite meals: Dr. Pepper, Hillshire Farms smoked sausage, and eating peanut butter from the jar with a table spoon.

On February 11, 2011, nine days before her 104th birthday, Mother had a terrible fall which resulted in brain trauma. After spending three days in the hospital, she was transferred to hospice, however, she, Mother a petite giant of a woman had to be removed from hospice because of failure to decline. She spent time in rehab and improved to a point where John Albert took her home.

Mother injured her pelvic in another fall, and was admitted to U.P.A.C. Greenville. The staff adored her because she was In Control (Smile).

After a bout with Pneumonia on January 8th, the Lord closed the book of life, “Ophelia, my child, come unto me where there’s no illness, no suffering, no medicine, no doctors, no nurses, no C.N.A.’s; nothing but Peace! Joy! Love! & Happiness!

Cherishing her memories and deeds: Children, John Albert (wife Juanita) Swanson; Grandchildren, Joan D. Johnson of Jonesboro, Ga, Michele Simpson of Jonesboro, Ga, Kelvin Swanson of Hampton, Ga, Manzell Swanson of Columbus, Ohio, David D. Woodard of Merrillville, Ind, Laloria M. Strickland of Laurel, Md; nine great grandchildren; eight great great grandchildren; sister, Ms. Dossie Gates; sister-in-laws, Lucille Colton and Evelyn Combs; devoted niece, Ms. Lizzie M. Dozier; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.