She was preceded in death by her husband, James R Bates, March 15, 2023, her parents Charles and Swann Lake, her sister, Frances Ferguson and daughter, Donna Ruth Bates Forrest.
She leaves behind her children Cynthia Atwood Steinberg (Paul), James R Bates Jr., and Pam Nuenke (Doug); as well as her Grandchildren Calvin Atwood, Justin Atwood, Swann Bates Waterhouse, Jack Bates, Rachel Forrest, Alexander Forrest Carter, Hannah Forrest Long, Beth Ann Nuenke Mergens, Lauren Nuenke Rowland, and Will Nuenke. In addition, she leaves a godly legacy on 18 great-grand children and several nieces and nephews.
Swann was born in Paris, Texas on April 30, 1927 to Charles and Swann Lake. Swann spent her childhood years in Shreveport, Louisiana where she graduated from Bird High School. She married her husband, James R. Bates of Ada, Oklahoma in 1947.
A year after they were married, they relocated to Louisburg, KS and soon after to the Kansas City area where she would live out her life as a devoted wife, mother, mentor, spiritual mother and friend.
In 1958, Swann’s path was forever impacted by her encounter with the Christian Women’s Club. Inspired by fellow women, she renewed her commitment to Christ, marking the genesis of her impactful journey as a faith leader. Over six decades, she became a well-known spiritual influence in the Kansas City area.
In addition to raising her children, Swann’s devotion extended to her deep faith as she immersed herself in church, prayer groups, Bible Study and mentoring young women. Known for her gracious “southern hospitality”, she hosted gatherings ranging from bridal showers and Sunday school gatherings to youth group pool parties and elegant meals prepared alongside James. Their signature meal included Caesar salad , Fettucine and homemade cheesecake. An iconic presence at many events was her cherished sweet tea, a staple at nearly every occasion.
She became a “spiritual mother” to many women throughout the years. She was a respected women of influence known for her teaching, speaking, mentoring, prayer, and faith in a big God. Her warm smile and compassionate heart drew many into her circle. She was the first to lead, teach and bring Kay Arthur Precepts Studies to Kansas City. She helped start and led countless studies in Kansas and Missouri. Swann addressed many women’s groups encouraging them in faith, prayer and following Jesus in their daily lives. She was a pivotal figure in promoting prayer in her church and in the wider Kansas City community.
Swann’s legacy also lies in her dedicated role as a mother and grandmother, affectionately known as “Meme.” She poured her heart into her family, nurturing them with her culinary talents, sharing recipes in the kitchen, and imparting lessons on faith. Her cherished presence often graced the early morning hours, where her grandchildren would find her deep in prayer and studying her Bible. Among many treasured memories includes pool days at the house with her signature twist on an Arnold Palmer, infused with garden-fresh mint.
She will forever be remembered as an influence among women, a nurturer of the younger generation, an embodiment of joy, an unyielding prayer warrior and a steadfast follower of Jesus in the good and the hard.
Funeral service will be held on Friday, Jan 26th at 11am at Lenexa Baptist Church, 15320 W. 87th St Pkwy, Lenexa, KS 66219. A visitation will be held after the funeral service. Private family burial. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Navigators, PO Box 50740 Colorado Springs, CO 80949 please specify acct #22439343 or House of Hope Kansas City, 7044 Antioch Rd. Overland Park, KS 66204. Assistance by Funeral Advocates, LLC.