Barbara Swarthout


Barbara Elaine Swarthout, 88, of Paris, passed away at 5:42 p.m. Thursday, May 23, 2019, at Horizon Health Paris Community Hospital. She was a retired chemist for Illinois Cereal Mills and previously worked as a chemical librarian for Dow Chemical. After retirement, she was a freelance marketing consultant.

Visitation is from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 28, at Templeton Funeral Home in Paris. Burial is private in Edgar Cemetery.

Mrs. Swarthout was born Sept. 21, 1930, at Ionia, Mich., the daughter of the late Karl and Margaret (Kurk) Stearns Sr. She married E. Jack Swarthout March 28, 1953, at Midland, Mich., and he survives.

Other survivors include two children, Paul (Nanette) Swarthout of Chesterfield, Mo., and Susan (Dave) Kimbley of Colorado Springs, Colo.; a brother, Karl (Linda) Stearns Jr. of Mason, Mich.; two grandchildren, Jenny Kimbley of Denver, Colo., and Heather (Ralph) Kohlhase of Monument, Colo.; two great-grandchildren, Adam and Scott Kohlhase; a niece, Kathy Hansz of Sheboygan, Mich.; and a nephew, Ken (Jackie) Stearns of Gainesville, Fla.

 Mrs. Swarthout graduated valedictorian from Midland High School in 1948 and earned her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Michigan State University in 1952. Later in life, she enjoyed doing post-graduate studies in marketing and copyrighting at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College. She was one of the first women to earn membership in the American Chemical Society.

When her children were young, she served as a Girl Scout leader for a number of years. Among her proudest accomplishments was her work through Altrusa of Paris in spearheading and implementing Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library for Edgar County. She remained active with the program for many years as a tireless advocate and volunteer.

In her spare time, Mrs. Swarthout enjoyed stereo photography, gardening, and cooking, and was a talented pianist and accordionist.

Memorial donations may be made to HRC - Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

 Online condlences at