Cover photo for Carol Lee Swager's Obituary
Carol Lee Swager Profile Photo
1934 Carol 2022

Carol Lee Swager

July 2, 1934 — August 15, 2022

Community Builder and Civic Leader

Carol Lee Swager passed away on August 15, 2022 surrounded by her husband and children. She was born in Kansas City, Kansas, to Lee T. and Esther M. Silvernail. In her youth, she played the accordion and loved to ride horses. He father had only an 8th grade education but managed to buy a small farm on the outskirts of Kansas City. Lee later went on to become a printer working for the Kansas City Star newspaper. Carol Lee spent a considerable amount of time with her Grandmother Lulu Silvernail who was a very accomplished business woman, famous cooking school teacher, and cookbook author who was employed by a number of major food companies. Carol Lee was influenced greatly by grandmother and often referred to her. Carol Lee was an outstanding high school student, and although her parents had limited resources, she was able to obtain a full scholarship to Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio, which is now merged with Miami University of Ohio. Carol Lee received a BS in Biology and took a position as a laboratory technician at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. It was there that she met her husband Dr. Warren M. Swager, who was during his internship. They were married on July 6, 1957, in Kansas City and then went on to Seagoville, TX, where Warren had a position as a prison doctor as part of his federal service. In TX, Carol Lee gave birth to Becky and Sarah.

Both Carol Lee and Warren decided their future was to move to a small town in the mountain west, and they were drawn in particular to Montana. After finding the communities in need of a country doctor, they decided to move to Sheridan in 1959 and went on to have a family of six children. Carol Lee spent the rest of her life embracing Montana and working tirelessly on civic projects in Sheridan and Madison County. Carol Lee was a legendary Girl Scout leader, and her troop created elaborate camp sites in the Tobacco Root Mountains with hand-built picnic tables and other structures produced from local lodge pole pine trees. The troop slept in tepees and did many other crafts. Carol Lee was also a force with her husband and other key civic leaders in raising money for the Sheridan Swimming Pool that has been a gem of the town now for nearly 50 years. She made major contributions to the two-volume series on the history of Madison County: Pioneer Trails and Trials and The Progressive Years .

In later years, Carol Lee was extremely active in the Sheridan Library and the Virginia City Preservation Alliance. In particular, she envisioned refurbishing and moving the cabin of Frank Linderman, a well-known author, to the historically designated Robber’s Roost site outside of Sheridan, that is under the care of the Virginia City Preservation Alliance. Carol Lee was also active in the Sheridan Main Street Improvement Team. The Linderman Cabin has become a venue for lectures on the history of the of the area. Carol Lee was very industrious and engaged in many art projects including making elaborate stained-glass sculptures and weaving. Before computers and printers, she was famous for printing color posters or tickets for many school and community events using silk screen methods. Many a teenager or other event organizer spent time in the Swager house kitchen printing posters for events.

Carol Lee was very devoted to her neighbors and in her younger years was constantly transporting some of the elder members of the community to appointments or outings. Later in life, Carol Lee similarly benefited from the rich friendly social fabric of Sheridan. She has been a constant participant in the Newspaper Reads at the Sheridan library where other locals would visit with each other and read historic newspapers.

Carol Lee Swager is survived by her husband Warren and six children: Rebecca McKee, Sarah Swager, Timothy Swager (Anne), Benjamin Swager, Elizabeth Swager, and Andrew Swager. She was a loving grandmother to her seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, please consider gifts to the Sheridan Public Library or the Virginia City Preservation Alliance.

A celebration of Carol Lee’s life will be held at Bethel Methodist Church in Sheridan on Friday August 19 beginning at 9AM. After the service and burial there will be an informal reception at Bethany Hall.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Carol Lee Swager, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, August 19, 2022

Starts at 9:00 am (Mountain time)

Bethel United Methodist Church

211 South Main Street, Sheridan, MT 59749

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Sheridan Cemetery

Highway 287, MT

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