Mary Virginia Schwind (née Burns) died peacefully at the Ware Living Center surrounded by family on March 8 in Amarillo, Texas at the age of 82. She was known as Virginia and later as Mary after moving to the Park Place Retirement community.
A Vigil will be at 6:00pm Wednesday, March 11 at the funeral home. The funeral is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. March 12 at St. Hyacinth’s Church. Most Reverend Patrick Zurek and Reverend Christopher Schwind will preside. Graveside services to follow at Llano Cemetery. Arrangements are by Schooler Funeral Home, 4100 South Georgia.
Mary Virginia is survived by her four children, Mary Jo DePriest (Richard), Creede, Colorado; Susan Stebbins (David), Amarillo, Texas; Michael Schwind (Katherine), Burleson, Texas, and Reverend Christopher Schwind, Stratford, Texas; nine grandchildren Jennifer Hrusovsky, Elizabeth Rodgers, Kristopher Rodgers; Sarah Stebbins, Katie Stebbins, Gracie Schwind, Clara Schwind, John Michael Schwind and Mary Kate Schwind as well as two great grandchildren Gideon and Vivian. She is preceded in death by her husband of 51 years, Joseph Michael Schwind, her parents James M. and Willie Roy Burns, her four siblings Patrick Burns, John Burns, Robert Burns and Ruth McGuire.
Mary Virginia was born on December 17, 1937 in Dalhart, Texas to James and Willie Burns. She grew up on her parent’s ranch in Nara Visa, NM. During World War II when gas was rationed, her parents fed cattle by horse drawn wagon. Once while passing through a gate, the horses ran off with only a young Virginia on board. She remembers the ride as exciting as frantic Jim and Mother gave chase. A favorite item was a blue and white china figure of a Japanese princess that her brother Pat brought to her from occupied Japan. Pat had served in the Navy and had asked if she would like a souvenir, having read that Japanese children played with mud dolls, she suggested he bring her one. As his ship departed, Pat had not found a doll for his little sister; instead he traded another sailor for the china figure which would always be displayed in a special place in her home.
She attended St. Mary’s Academy in Amarillo and graduated from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque in 1959 with a degree in English. She married Joseph Schwind on August 14, 1961. The couple resided at their home in the Rolling Hills subdivision for much of their 50 year marriage later moving to the Park Place Retirement community. Mary Virginia began her career at Palo Duro High School teaching Latin and English, she later taught Latin and English at Caprock High School for many years. She also earned a M.Ed. in Counseling from West Texas State University in 1976.
Mary Virginia enjoyed spending summers with Joseph at a family vacation home in the mountains near Creede, CO. She passed on her love of the piano, cooking, sewing, and teaching to her children. A favorite family meal was homemade chicken fried steak. When asked how she made it, she would reply that all the pans in the kitchen had to be dirty when you were done. She was well read, often borrowing stacks of books from the library. She was known for her love of cats and dogs and had numerous pets including having raised a baby antelope as child. Her first memory of her grandfather was receiving a box containing a pet albino piglet. She was a devoted Catholic and member of St. Hyacinth Church. Her children remember her as a kind, loving, and gracious mother often surprising family with handmade gifts.
The family would like to thank the Ware Living Center and BSA Hospice staff for their excellent and loving care during Mary Virginia’s last days. The family suggests memorials be made to St. Hyacinth’s Catholic Church, 4500 W Hills Trail, Amarillo, TX 79106.