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Mary Ellen Swaim Kindley passed away Wednesday, August 23, at Hospice Haven in Rockingham. Born February 28, 1928, in Liberty, NC, Mary Ellen was the daughter of the late Joe Clark and Bertha Curtis Swaim. With the approach of WWII and difficult times associated with war, the Swaim family relocated from Liberty to Asheboro when Mary Ellen was in fourth grade. Mary Ellen married Gurney R. Kindley, Jr. on May 4, 1953 in El Paso, TX, and later moved to Rockingham, where the couple made their home and raised their two sons. She was a loving and devoted wife and mother. For many years, Mrs. Kindley served as bookkeeper for the family-owned business, Southern Builders, Inc. From 1977-1997, she also served as then Rockingham Mayor G. R. Kindley’s “first lady,” a duty she performed with style and grace. Mrs. Kindley was a faithful member of Rockingham First United Methodist Church for more than sixty years and found great love and joy in her church family. She had a special place in her heart for the youth of the church and encouraged and supported their endeavors. Mary Ellen was active in her ladies’ circle group, a devoted member of Tuesday Morning Bible Study, and a volunteer for Hermitage worship. She is remembered for how she sweetly greeted her fellow church members each Sunday as they gathered to worship and how she made sure that each newcomer to their services received a warm, personal welcome. Along with her love of family and church, Mrs. Kindley had a passion for gardening. She spent countless hours tending her plants and designing her flower beds. This was an interest she shared with others as a member of the Rockingham Garden Club. Mary Ellen Kindley is preceded in death by her brothers Joe (Lucy) Swaim, Roddy (Christine) Swaim, and Robert (Bob) Swaim, all of Asheboro, Frank (Hilma) Swaim of Pinebluff and one nephew. She is survived by G.R. Kindley, her husband of 64 years; sons Gurney R. (Ken) Kindley, III (Terry) of Lincolnton, NC and Joe Curtis Kindley (Priscilla) of Rockingham; grandchildren Mary Kelly Kindley of Myrtle Beach, Shawn Kindley of Charlotte, Leigh Ann Blackman of Charleston, and Curt Kindley of Rockingham; great grandson Brooks Blackman; sister-in-law, Lucille Swaim; one nephew and several nieces; as well as her long-time caregivers, Cornette Jackson and Cora Lee Stuart. Visitation will be held Friday, August 25, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Carter Funeral Home in Rockingham. A celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 26, at First United Methodist Church in Rockingham with the Rev. Allen Bingham, the Rev. Michael Hobbs, and the Rev. Dr. Allison Farrah officiating with interment following at Richmond Memorial Park Mausoleum. Memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 637, Rockingham, NC 28380; the G.R. and Mary Ellen Kindley Scholarship, Wingate University, Campus Box 3071, Wingate, NC 28174; the G.R. and Mary Ellen Kindley Scholarship, Richmond Community College, P.O. Box 1189, Hamlet, NC 28345, or Richmond County Hospice Haven, 1119 N US Hwy 1, Rockingham, NC 28379. Condolences may be made online at www.carterfuneral.net.
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