Mildred Louise Swindler passed away on the afternoon of October 30, 2023, after a brief stay in the nursing home following the loss of her husband, Bob, just a few weeks earlier.
Mildred was born July 17, 1926, in Plain Dealing, Louisiana. Her parents, Margaret Maud Tidwell and James Tidwell, were blessed with five children: sisters Wanda Lorene, Lydia Maurice, Norma Jean, and brother, James Morgan. She also had a much younger half-brother and sister, David Glenn and Henri Lynn, whom she helped raise. In addition, there were twin daughters, Margene and Margie, who died in childhood.
Life and childhood changed when, in the midst of the Great Depression, Mildred’s father died. His early death was a loss felt keenly throughout her life. Fortunately, grandparents, uncles, and aunts were there to help. Her stories of life during these hard times and into the WWII years were the stuff of movies, a fascinating glimpse into American history. She even worked for a time at the Western Auto Store in Springhill, Louisiana, a story she shared years later at Pepperdine University, as the Pepperdines were the founders of Western Auto.
Soon, Mildred married her first husband, Percy Cobb. In his position with International Paper, they lived in several locations throughout the South, and eventually in Natchez. Once again, the untimely death of a loved one, this time her husband, brought sudden upheaval to her life. She enrolled in business school and developed her typing and shorthand dictation skills that were to be so useful throughout her working career. She also began to cultivate her sense of style and decor, and was always beautifully dressed and a consummate hostess.
She and her young son, James, moved to Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where she worked as the secretary to the Mill Manager. It was there she met Robert “Bob” Swindler. They were married on June 10, 1961, and settled in McGehee. Soon, work took them to Wichita, where their son Mark was born, and then on to Kansas City. They settled in Shawnee Mission, Kansas. She returned to full-time work with the Missouri Pacific Railroad in 1971 as Bob’s secretary. She worked through the merger with the Union Pacific Railroad and retired soon after Bob.
In 1991 they retired to McGehee, where they spent the next thirty-two years. They quickly became involved in civic life. Always a wonderful cook, Mildred entertained in their antiques-filled home. Although retired, she continued to help Bob with her secretarial skills in his post-retirement career as a consultant and teacher.
Sadly, her final years were difficult. She suffered from the confusion and lapses of memory that come with dementia. Although there was much she could not remember, she remembered her son and husband to the end.
Mildred is survived by her son Mark. Preceding her in death were her husband, Bob, and her son the Rev. James Paul Cobb. She is also survived by daughter-in-law Dr. Jeanne Cobb, grandson Alex Cobb and his wife, Allison, and granddaughter Rebecca Cobb and great-grandsons William and Alexander.
Although there were times of great difficulty, she carried on with grace, dignity, and style. She will be forever missed by a lifetime of friends and her son.
A joint memorial service will take place in Houston November 4 at 11 a.m. at St. John’s Presbyterian Church. A service in McGehee will be held at a later date.
Memorial donations can be made to the Music and Lenten Arts Series at St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Houston, either by mail to St. John’s Presbyterian Church, 502O W Bellfort Avenue, Houston, Texas 77035 or online at stjohnspresby.org