Barbara Schwan

Obituary of Barbara Crowder Schwan

Barbara Crowder Schwan went peacefully to be with the Lord on January 6, 2021.

She was born on December 10, 1935 to Robert Vincent and Carrie Mehaffey Crowder and was the Granddaughter of Thomas Pinkney and Virginia Campbell Mehaffey.

Growing up in Lynchburg, Barbara was active in her community, school and her church, Centenary United Methodist Church. Graduating from EC Glass in 1954, Barbara continued her studies first at Randolph Macon Women’s College and then Phillips Business College where she earned a degree in Stenographics in 1956.

Barbara enjoyed her music and was an accomplished pianist. She began her study of classical piano when she was 6 years old. Studying under Ms. Margaret Cheatham for 12 years, Barbara was accomplished in many forms of playing to include solo, 2 piano, and 4 hands piano. A noted soloist in Lynchburg, Barbara also served as an accompanist for Mr. John Wranek and Mr. Bill Gresham on several occasions. Additionally, while in High School she was selected as an accompanist for the Junior Choir Festival for which she won an award.

In the summer of 1954 on a blind date, Barbara was introduced by Mr. Randy Knipp to what developed into the love of her life, Alexander Schwan, Jr, a VMI Cadet. After a beautiful romantic courtship, they exchanged wedding vows on December 22, 1956 at Centenary United Methodist Church.

While Alex completed his service in the US Army and pursued his advanced Degree in Biomedical Engineering, Barbara was busy at home raising their three boys. Once Alex had completed his studies, they moved to Toledo, Ohio in 1966 where they continued raising their boys until all three entered U.S. Military Service. Alex and Barbara lived in Toledo until 1986 when Alex sold his business and they moved to Punta Gorda, FL where they resided until Alex’s death in 1998.

Barbara returned to Lynchburg in 2001 where she quickly re-established herself in her own right. She was a staunch supporter and key volunteer for many faithful years with the Lynchburg Meals on Wheels program as the Driver coordinator for meal delivery. She also became an active member of Rivermont Evangelical Presbyterian Church, which she so loved. A resident at Westminster Canterbury since 2017, Barbara enjoyed life with her very loyal cat, Frankie, her dear friend and neighbor Ms. Betty Lewis, and her kind personal assistant Marilyn Hall. A lifetime lover of needle arts, Barbara was a “master” needlepoint artist. Stitching since she was 8 years old, having learned from her mother, she developed a keen interest in the stitching form of art and is well known for her many exquisite pieces, all of which are worthy of high recognition.

She was predeceased by her husband Alexander Schwan, Jr., her eldest son, Alexander Schwan, III, her brother, Robert Vincent Crowder, Jr. M.D. and Sister-in-Law, Marjorie Rae Crowder.

She is survived by two sons, Mark Edward (Bonnie) and William Kevin (Rafaela), several Grandchildren, Great Grandchildren, Cousins and a very special first Cousin Shirley Mehaffey Ware.

The family wishes to thank the staff of Westminster Canterbury and Senior Independence Hospice for their expert and loving care.

Due to COVID-19 and out of an abundance of caution, a private family committal service will be held at Spring Hill Cemetery with Pastor Ron Cox officiating.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial contribution to Meals on Wheels, 605 Clay St., Lynchburg, VA 24504 or a charity of your choice.

Diuguid Funeral Service & Crematory, Wiggington Road Chapel, 385-8900, is serving the family. To send on-line condolences, please go to



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