OBITUARY: Sylvia Swain, ‘full of grace’

In sorrow and love, we announce that Sylvia Swain passed away at home on April 3, 2023, at the age of 88.

Sylvia Christine Lloyd was born Jan. 2, 1935 in Reading, Massachusetts. Her family moved to Marblehead, and Sylvia fell in love with her new hometown.

Sylvia Swain

She attended Marblehead Public Schools and was known for her vivacious personality. She became drum majorette for the high school band and caught the eye of Fran Swain.

After graduating, she attended Beverly Nursing School and, while still a student nurse, she married Fran and they started their family.

Sylvia worked as a nurse for Drs. Fallon and Tippetts in Marblehead for many years, and they encouraged her to continue her education. She became one of the first certified nurse practitioners in the country.

Sylvia served many roles. She was a mother, a den mother and a surrogate mother to many in town due to her care and nursing skills. She became the chairman of the board of trustees of the Mary Alley Hospital. Later, she became director of health services at the Lafayette Convalescent Home.

In addition, she and Fran owned the Wool and Workshop, a yarn and fabric shop.

She was also active on many boards and committees, and she became Marblehead Rotary’s first female president and a Paul Harris Fellow.

When Sylvia retired, the state of Massachusetts issued an official proclamation of honor and Rep. Doug Peterson summed her up by declaring, “She is full of grace.”

Sylvia is predeceased by her sister, Nancy Antonich of Crystal River, Florida; her husband, Francis W. Swain, Jr. of Marblehead; and, then later, her partner Gordon L. Brown of North Conway, New Hampshire. She leaves behind many friends and admirers.

She also leaves her proud children, Amanda Sylvester and her husband, Martin Sylvester, of Salem; and Gary Swain and his wife, Sheelagh Nelis Swain, of Marblehead; and her grandson Nicolas Peabody and his wife, Brandy Bruyere, and their son, Nolan, of Silver Spring, Maryland; and her granddaughter Halsey Swain of Portland, Oregon. She also leaves behind her three nephews, Nat, Peter and Jeff Berry, and their families.

A service will be held at Old North Church on Saturday, April 29, 2023, at 10 a.m. with a reception to follow in the parish hall.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Marblehead Dollars for Scholars for the Sylvia and Francis Swain Jr. Memorial Scholarship at P.O. Box 4, Marblehead, MA 01945.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy for the Swain family may be shared at

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