Meadville Tribune

October 10, 2013

Sylvia Dolores Swartzfager

Meadville Tribune

ERIE — Sylvia Dolores Swartzfager moved into the loving embrace of God, Jesus the Christ, and the Holy Spirit on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. She was born in Oil City, a daughter of the late Willard Swartzfager and Dolores Zimmerman Swartzfager.

Sylvia was a teacher of mathematics. She earned her bachelor of science degree in mathematics from Villa Maria College and her master of science degree in curriculum and instruction from Texas A&M.

As a Sister of St. Joseph for 25 years, Sylvia taught in many Catholic schools in the Diocese of Erie, including Villa Maria Elementary School, St. Agatha School (Meadville), St. Patrick School and Our Lady’s Christian School. The majority of her career was in secondary education at Villa Maria Academy, Cathedral Preparatory School, Corry High School, Our Lady of the Elms High School (Akron, Ohio), and most recently at Mercyhurst Preparatory School. Her teaching career continued for 54 years until June 2013.

Sylvia was a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the Association of Mathematics Teachers of Northwestern Pennsylvania of which she also served on the board. She served as a devoted Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist at Sacred Heart Church for many years. In addition, Sylvia was a self-trained naturalist and an enthusiastic conservationist. She enjoyed traveling with family and friends throughout her life.

She is survived by a brother, Walter Swartzfager and his wife, Gay, of Meadville; two nieces, Sylvia Bras and her husband, Daniel, of Saegertown, and Stacy Tessaro of Wexford; a nephew, Shawn Swartzfager of Wesleyville; and six grandnephews, Evan (Allison), Matthew and Gregory Bras, and Joshua, Steven and David Tessaro. She is also survived by many cousins.

Visiting hours will be at Brugger Funeral Homes & Crematory, 1595 W. 38th St., Erie, today from 2 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m., and may attend a prayer service there on Saturday at 11:15 a.m. followed by a funeral Mass at noon at Sacred Heart Church, 816 W. 26th St. Burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers, it is Sylvia’s wish that, if you are able, you continue her long-standing tradition (14.5 gallons) of blood donation at the Erie Community Blood Bank or your local blood bank. Memorials may be made to the Sylvia Swartzfager Scholarship Fund at Mercyhurst Preparatory School, 538 E. Grandview Boulevard, Erie, Pa. 16501. Condolences and photos may be sent at