Kristina Massie Swain, Seaford educator

December 26, 2012
Kristina Massie Swain

Kristina Massie Swain, 79, of Seaford succumbed to complications of Alzheimer’s disease at the home of her daughter in Laurel, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012, after a long illness.

Born March 13, 1933, in Hampstead, Md. to Judson and Alice Howell Massie, she grew up primarily in Newport News, Va. A graduate of Warwick High School, she continued her education at Mary Washington College and East Carolina University, earning a bachelor of science degree in biology in 1957. Her student teaching was completed in Bridgeville; her career at Seaford High School was from 1969-92. A co-sponsor of American Field Service, she also hosted foreign exchange students Toril Lilian Heide from Norway and Kay Penkethman of England. As the faculty sponsor of the Keyette Club, Seaford High School’s service club was recognized at convention year after year for outstanding achievement in service and scholarship.

Mrs. Swain will be remembered for her dedication to Seaford High School’s musical productions, sewing costumes and teaching many young people to use a sewing machine and their imagination and creative talents to authenticate period costumes. Much of the preparation for these costumes took place in her basement, affectionately known as “The Dungeon.” As faculty sponsor of Seaford’s Academic Decathlon team, this small city’s high school took top honors in a national arena for many years.

Respected by colleagues, Kristina was active in the Seaford chapter of the Delaware State Education Association throughout her career. She enjoyed reading, sewing, baking, cooking, hiking, music, gardening and exploration. One of her favorite applications of her major in college, botany, was taking her children, then grandchildren, on seasonal hunts through the woods for endangered species, rare blossoms, and exploration of the habitat of the world of nature we shared. She taught her children and her students the importance of being good stewards of the earth’s beauty and bounty.

Encouraging her children to participate in school activities and sports, she was an avid fan of Duke basketball. A member of Atlanta Road Alliance Church, she thoroughly enjoyed the choir’s annual ministries through their Christmas and Easter cantatas.

Kristina is survived her children: Tommy Lynn Layton (Gary) of Ashburn, Va.; Danna Lou Palmer (Charles), Montine Carey Willin (JC), Kristopher Ryan Swain (Kim) all of Seaford; Valerie Kristina Kerns (Randy) of Martinsburg, W.Va.; and Alison Marie Venables (Blair) of Laurel. She is also survived by 18 grandchildren: Bryan Vincent Layton (Jennifer), Kristin Michelle Aguas (Rod), Thad Edward Palmer, Kyle Thomas Palmer, Christie Lynn Herndon (Randy), Brent Thomas Willin, Courtney Ruth Swain, Taylor Kristina Swain, Jamie Elizabeth Swain, Morgan Carey Swain, Drew Thomas Venables, Paige Marie Venables, Dustin Blair Venables, Gray Robert Venables, Hannah Kate Venables, Amy Alicia Venables, and Nathan Ryan Venables. In addition, Kristina has nine beautiful great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

Kristina was predeceased by her husband, Thomas Ryan Swain; daughter, Murray Alicia Swain; grandson, Cpl. Cory Leonard Palmer, USMC; and brothers, Jack Livingston Massie and Gordon Carey Massie.

Funeral services will be held at noon, Saturday Dec. 29, at the Atlanta Road Alliance Church, 22625 Atlanta Road, Seaford, with Ed Laremore officiating, where viewing will begin at 10:30 a.m. A reception will immediately follow the services at the church. A viewing will also be held from 6 to 9 p.m., Friday, Dec. 28, at Parsell Funeral Homes & Crematorium, Hardesty Chapel, 202 Laws Street, Bridgeville.

Interment will be at 11 a.m., Monday Dec. 31, at Peninsula Memorial Park, 12750 Warwick Boulevard, Newport News, Va.

Contributions may be made to Atlanta Road Alliance Church, 22625 Atlanta Road, Seaford, DE 19973; Seaford Volunteer Fire Department, PO Box 87, Seaford, DE 19973; or Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Benevolence Fund, 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, DE 19973.


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