In Memory of




Obituary for Isabelle M. Swarter

Isabelle M. Swarter (McCaughan) of Wilmington, DE peacefully passed on April 7th at the age of 90. Isabelle, or “Izzy” as she was lovingly known, was a radiant force who will be dearly missed by her family, friends and countless others who were fortunate to have known her and to have been touched by her kindness and compassion. Isabelle was born and raised in Sharon Hill, PA to John P. McCaughan and Catharine (Rogan) and raised in a home overflowing with her 12 siblings, grandparents and lots of shenanigans, laughter and love. She attended Holy Spirit grade school and Notre Dame (Moylan) high school in PA where her activities included performing in the school play.

Isabelle met the love of her life, Joe, when he asked her to dance on the old Wilson Line, a Big Band boat cruise that used to make the rounds between South Jersey, Wilmington and Philadelphia in the ‘50s. Isabelle and Joe married in 1956 and they settled in the Wilmington area where they would raise their five children Joe (Dorene), Fred (Sandy), Diane Saienni (Joe), Charles (Rhonda) and Cathy Loos (George). Izzy and Joe were married for 46 wonderful years, enjoying travel together, making great memories with their children and grandchildren at their Mariner’s Cove beach house, dining at favorite restaurants like Villa di Roma in Philly, trips to A.C. and Big Band weekends with lifelong friends, and great times spent in Florida, until Joe’s passing in 2002.

Well known for her tremendous faith and serving others, Isabelle was originally a member of Corpus Christi Parish and, most recently, St. Matthew’s Parish for over 50 years, where she had served as a lector, Eucharistic Minister and parish trustee. She was also a Eucharistic Minister at Christiana Hospital, a member of the Ministry of Caring Guild and an avid volunteer at Jesus House and Sacred Heart Village and Church, among others. Whether it was driving someone to a doctor’s appointment, visiting a sick family member or friend, or making donations, Isabelle never missed any opportunity to help others in big and small ways. A true prayer warrior, Izzy was a go-to for many who would reach out to her to ask for her prayers during challenging times.

Izzy was also known for her outgoing personality, funny antics and incredible sense of humor, which she shared with her husband. The absolute life of the party, she would bring down the house in wigs, costumes and whacky glasses while entertaining with songs and her beautiful voice at family events, including the annual McCaughan Family Picnic and during her travels for conferences with Home & Interiors and Gifts, where she was a sales rep doing home decorating parties in the late 70s and early 80s. She was also a fixture for years at her favorite restaurant, Cosmos, holding court with many friends there, as well as regular meet-ups with her coffee crew at Dunkin’ Donuts where she enjoyed her favorite Pumpkin Spice.

Isabelle found such great joy in her grandchildren, Matt Swarter (Jen), Andrew Swarter, Ashley Mundy (Mike), Kaitlin Swarter, Alexis Murphy (Ian), Luke Saienni (Alyse), Lindsay Saienni, Ryan Swarter and Matt Peart; as well as her great grandchildren, Aubrey Mundy, Tyler Swarter, Maddie Swarter, Jax Swarter, Caden Mundy, Mason Saienni and Brooks Murphy. She will also be missed dearly by her many nieces and nephews, including Bobby Vietri, with whom she shared lots of cherished outings and special visits over the past few years.

Isabelle was a shining example to all of us in the caring way in which she lived her life and in her incredible strength, courage, resilience and grace in which she faced the many challenges that came her way in her final years and days. When her health issues gradually took away her speech and mobility, we were so grateful that her mind remained crystal clear and we could still hear her infectious laugh, as she got through the hard times with her unwavering faith and humor. She continued to have a positive impact on anyone she met even without a word, including her sweet roommate, Betty Eshelman at Complete Care at Brackenville and her nurses and aides who she would thank by blowing a kiss or taking their hand. Our family would also like to thank the staff at Compassionate Care Hospice.

Though we were incredibly heartbroken to say goodbye to mom, we are comforted to know she was greeted by a tribe of loved ones who went before her, including her beloved husband Joe, her son, Joe, her parents Catharine and John; and her siblings, Rose, Dave, Eddie, Kay, Mac, James A., James D., Charles, Helen, Sally, Ann and Marie.

A visitation will be held on Saturday, April 15th from 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. at St. Matthew’s Church (901 E Newport Pike, Wilmington, DE), followed by an 11:00 a.m. Mass in celebration of Isabelle’s life. Interment will be private at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Jesus House Prayer and Renewal Center or volunteering or reaching out to support someone in need. For additional information, please contact Krienen-Griffith Funeral Home.