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Serving Dane County since 1922.

Virginia Eighmy Smith Swingen

November 9, 1918 November 30, 2019
Virginia Eighmy Smith Swingen
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Obituary for Virginia Eighmy Smith Swingen

MADISON – Virginia Eighmy Smith Swingen, age 101, passed away Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019, at home in Maple Bluff. She was born in Madison, Wis., on Nov. 9, 1918, to Dr. Karl W. and Bess (Eighmy) Smith. Virginia was educated at West High School in Madison in the first complete graduation class of 1936, and the University of Wisconsin where she received a BA degree in Spanish in 1940. She was a member of Delta Zeta (formerly Phi Omega Pi) sorority, and Sigma Delta Pi (Hispanic Honor Society). During World War II, she was employed at Forest Products Laboratory in Madison testing woods.

Virginia married Eldred M. Swingen at Bethel Lutheran Church on Sept. 28, 1946, after his graduation from law school. Together they raised a daughter, Regina Anne. Virginia traveled and cruised extensively with her husband to Europe, the Caribbean, China, the Middle East and Egypt. Her last big trips were with her daughter to Alaska, Machu Picchu, and the Galapagos Islands.

Virginia was a member of numerous wildlife and environmental organizations: Audubon Club, Henry Vilas Zoo, International Crane Foundation, Maple Bluff Garden Club, National Wildlife Society, Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Smithsonian, Yahara Lakes Association, and several others. She also belonged to Bethel Lutheran Church, Maple Bluff Country Club and the Madison Club. Her interests included refinishing antique furniture, gardening, reading, needlepoint, knitting and quilting, making homemade jams and jellies, golf, bowling, jazzercise, yoga, and entertaining with cocktail and dinner parties.

Virginia is survived by her daughter, Regina Anne Lee of Cookeville, Tenn. She was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, Robert; and her husband of 66 years, Eldred.

A celebration of life will be planned for a later date. Virginia made the commitment years ago to donate her body to the Anatomy Department of the University of Wisconsin - Madison Medical School but was underweight at time of death. She chose cremation as an alternative. The family requests that memorials be given to the church or charity of the donor’s choice.

The family would like to thank Agrace HospiceCare and Senior Helpers for the compassionate support from all the medical staff and caregivers over the past few years. Thank you to all who sent flowers, food, cards and gifts over the past few years. Online condolences may be made at

Gunderson East
Funeral & Cremation Care
5203 Monona Drive
(608) 221-5420


Event Information

A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

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