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Ruth Marlene Swilley Chilcott – 1934-2018

Ruth Marlene Swilley Chilcott, 83, of Toronto, KS, peacefully ascended to her heavenly home on September 30, 2018, at the Greenwood County Hospital in Eureka, KS. She was surrounded by her three loving daughters.

Ruth was born November 4, 1934, in her parents’ home on Big Sandy in Woodson County, KS. She was the 3rd child of Warren Nolan and Ortha Venith (Daniel) Swilley. She attended grade school on Big Sandy and after moving to Toronto graduated from Toronto High School in 1952. She graduated from Iola Community Junior College with a Continuing Education Degree in 1954. In 1955 she taught school in Middletown, KS, near Big Sandy. She later graduated from Fort Hays State University with a Bachelor of Science in Education.

She was united in marriage to the love of her life, Bill Chilcott, on June 4, 1955, at the Evangelical United Brethren Church in Toronto. They were married 42 years until his death in 1997. To this union four children were born, Beth Ann in 1956, Brenda Sue in 1958, Patsy Ruth in 1960, and John Bradford (stillborn) in 1964. Ruth and Bill raised their children in Toronto, Yates Center, and Great Bend, KS. 

Ruth was a gifted and loved elementary school teacher. She received many honors and accolades for her teaching skills. She was memorable to her students for many reasons, but one of the most popular reasons was her daily reading of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. She was an avid reader. She loved flowers and making arrangements with them. Ruth was an accomplished pianist and vocalist. She sang for a variety of special occasions and in many church related events. She was a skilled seamstress sewing for her three daughters, herself, and her grandchildren. She was a member of numerous teaching organizations and was active in her profession and community. She was an officer and served on the board of the Toronto Methodist Church, the Toronto American Legion Auxiliary Post #325, the Big Sandy Homecoming Committee, the Toronto Senior Center, and Eastern Star to name a few. She also served and volunteered on the Woodson County Historical Society Committee. The log cabin at the Woodson County Historical site in Yates Center belonged to Ruth’s grandparents, John and Rebecca Daniel when they lived on Big Sandy. If you knew Ruth at all you knew she was an animal lover. Strays were no longer strays when Ruth found them.

The funeral service will be officiated by Jeff Owen, the Chaplain from Kindred Hospice, at 10:00 A.M. Friday, October 5, 2018, at the Toronto United Methodist Church. Visitation will be from 9:00 A.M. to 10:00 A.M. prior to the funeral service at the church. Burial will follow in the Toronto Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Toronto Senior Center or the Toronto American Legion Auxiliary and may be sent in care of Campbell Funeral Home, PO Box 188, Yates Center, KS 66783.

Ruth was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, John William “Bill” Chilcott; her son, John Bradford Chilcott; her brother, Leon Swilley; a sister-in-law, Rosalie Swilley; a brother-in-law, Dale Thomas; and a nephew, Dalen Thomas.

She is survived by her three daughters, Beth Ann Chilcott of Toronto, Brenda Raven (Jason) of Hays, KS, and Patsy Arnold (Stan) of Grand Island, NE; her sister, Helen Thomas of Toronto; three grandchildren, Tyler Arnold, Michael Raven, and Elizabeth (Arnold) Supencheck; a great-granddaughter, Memphis Arnold; many nieces and nephews; other relatives, loving friends, and former students.

Special thanks to Kindred Hospice and the Greenwood County Hospital for the gentle love and care they gave her.

Funeral arrangements provided by 

Campbell Funeral Home

PO Box 188

Yates Center, KS 66839

The Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, Oct. 3, 2018