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Saturday, February 11, 2023
11:00am - 12:00pm (Eastern time)
Marabeth Swanson Wedewer, 94, of Charleston, South Carolina, passed away on December 14, 2022.
Marabeth was the extraordinarily devoted mother of five children and wife of seventy-one years to Donald H. Wedewer. Through her kindness, ability to listen, and interest in and care for others, all rooted in her Catholic faith, Marabeth had an outsized influence on all those around her.
A native of West Hartford, Connecticut, Wedewer was part of the Greatest Generation. The daughter of devoted parents, Ellen and Harry Swanson, Marabeth grew-up during and was shaped by, the Great Depression and World War II. After the war, at age 18 she met Donald H. Wedewer, a double-amputee, blinded Army combat veteran. They were married in 1950. During her more than seven-decade, extraordinary partnership with Don, Marabeth was indispensable in propelling his career to become a state and national leader in advocating for those with vision loss.
Marabeth served as a twenty-five cent per hour Veterans Administration reader of textbooks to Don while he attended the University of Missouri, traveled with him around Florida and the rest of the country while he advocated on behalf of those with vision loss, and she served as a delegate to the White House conference on those with handicaps during the administration of President Jimmy Carter. In these and other roles, Marabeth was a vital support system for Don and while doing so, found her own voice in support of social causes. Among these were years she devoted to serving the needs of single mothers and advocating on their behalf.
Marabeth was equally invested in her children. She nurtured their education, interests, and careers whether it led to sports, coaching, teaching, banking, newspaper publishing, politics, or military and government service. Whether serving as a Cub Scouts den mother, on school parent teacher associations, or in countless other roles, Marabeth completely devoted herself to her children. Hers was an uncompromising, ceaseless love.
A lifetime learner, Marabeth loved reading, travel, classical music, the opera, redecorating, cooking, shopping, and crossword puzzles. Seeing President Franklin D. Roosevelt at a young age, Marabeth had an avid and life-long interest in current affairs and politics. With her young kids in tow, Marabeth went to a campaign rally for future President John F. Kennedy and loved to discuss politics into the early morning hours with her sister and two brothers. Marabeth also loved a good laugh, sharing a dry martini, and hosting a raucous party.
Whether a family member, friend, or stranger, Marabeth made those around her feel at ease. It was often said, “everybody likes Marabeth.” Indeed, she was the best.
Marabeth was preceded in passing by her husband of seventy-one years, Donald H. Wedewer, and is survived by a daughter, Mary Ellen Sprague, and four sons, Todd J. Wedewer, Neil B. Wedewer, Donald H. Wedewer, Jr., and Harry E. Wedewer, along with seven grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Stuhr Funeral Home, Charleston, South Carolina, and Culley’s Meadow Wood Funeral Home, Tallahassee, Florida.
A funeral service will be held on February 11th, at 11:00 a.m. in The Chapel at Bishop Gadsden, 2 Bishop Gadsden Way, Charleston, South Carolina 29412. At a later date, a committal service will be held in Tallahassee, Florida.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations in the name of Marabeth S. Wedewer to: the Conklin Davis Center for the Visually Impaired, 405 White Street, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114; the Florida Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired Scholarship Fund, 5680 King Centre Drive, Suite 600, Alexandria, VA 22315 and/or the Bishop Gadsden Employee Appreciation Fund, 1 Bishop Gadsden Way, Charleston, South Carolina 29412.