Heather Suzanne Barkley, BA ’90, of Amarillo, TX, passed away Monday, December 30, 2019, at age 51. Graveside services will be at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, January 4, 2020, at Llano Cemetery. Memorial services will be at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, January 4, 2020, at Boxwell Brothers Ivy Chapel. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, 2800 Paramount Blvd. Heather was born on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1968, in Austin, TX to her parents, Bill and Tommie Barkley. She graduated Salutatorian of Amarillo High School in 1986 as a National Merit Scholar. Heather attended Baylor University graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1990. She earned two master’s degrees at Yale University in 1992 and 1994 and her PhD in Medieval Studies at Yale in 1995. Her professional career included professor of English at Texas Tech University and project engineer at Netscape and AOL in Mountain View, California. Upon her return to Amarillo, Heather enjoyed teaching English. Her hobbies included her pets, gardening, and reading. Heather also hiked the Grand Canyon at least two times. She is survived by her parents; brothers, Dr. Brian Barkley, and Clint Barkley; and niece, Audrey Barkley, all of Amarillo. Memorials may be made to ASPCA.
Loy Mark McMillon, BA ’90, JD ’95, passed away unexpectedly on November 2, 2019, one day shy of his 52nd birthday. Mark was born on November 3, 1967 to Donald and Jean McMillon in Abilene, TX. After graduating from Jim Ned High School in 1986 he attended Baylor University on a football scholarship. Mark loved playing football for the Bears. He earned his undergraduate degree in professional writing from Baylor in 1990. Mark then attended Thomas M. Cooley Law School and completed his law degree at Baylor Law School. Mark began his professional career as an attorney in Dallas, TX working for several law firms. In 2012, he established The Law Offices of L. Mark McMillon, PLLC. He based his practice on Christian faith and values specializing in business, insurance, and family law. While attending law school, Mark met and married Wendy Ann Fallon. He and Wendy had two children, MacKenzie Cait and Matthew Hunter. Mark was very proud of his children and loved spending time watching and participating in their activities. His love and compassion for others can be seen in the character of MacKenzie and Matthew. Mark was a Christ follower and active in his church and community. He was a friendly, fun loving person with a larger than life personality. Mark was one of a kind, making everyone laugh with his unique and special sense of humor. Mark is survived by his two children, his parents, one brother - Matt McMillon and wife Rebecca of Abilene, one sister - Marci Phillips and husband John of Dallas, five nieces and nephews, one great niece, and a special friend - Dr. Heather Wright of Weatherford, TX. A family visitation will be held from 5:30-7:00 pm Tuesday November 5th, 2019 at Piersall Funeral Directors, 733 Butternut St. A memorial service will be held Wednesday morning at 11:00 am in the chapel of the funeral home with Bill Hooten officiating. In Lieu of flowers a donation can be made to the MacKenzie and Matthew McMillon College tuition fund held at First Financial Bank, 400 Pine street, Abilene Texas. Condolences may be offered to the family online at www.pbfuneraldirectors.com.
Jolynn Rainville Swantkowski, BS ’91, died at home in Houston on Tuesday, the 5th of November 2019, at the age of 50. She was born on the 7th of November 1968, in Butte, Montana, the youngest of six children to parents Mary (Alexander) and Joe Rainville.
Her early childhood years were spent in Montana and Illinois; at age 11 she moved with her family to Houston. Jolynn graduated from Baylor University and went on to obtain her Master's in Cytogenetics from Baylor College of Medicine. She spoke Spanish fluently and worked as a Genetic Counselor before becoming a Mom, which was her true passion. Jolynn was always spontaneous and never passed on a new adventure. Her Montana roots continued to call and traveling, whether it be to Big Sky, the Pocono's, or Tahiti, was one of her greatest pleasures. Jolynn is preceded in death by her dad, Joe Rainville; her sister, Ronna Rainville; her brother, Randy Rainville; and her nephew, Kyle Zuleg. She is survived by her three loved and adored children, Meghan, Ryan, and Jack Swantkowski; and their dad, Jeff. She is also survived by her Mom, Mary Farrand; her sister, Jami McKissick; her brother, Rick Rainville and his wife Alice Jo; her sister, Jill Zuleg and her husband Matt; step sister, Renee Holsen and her husband Tom; step brother, Scott Farrand and his wife Beth; her step father, Chuck Farrand; many nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, and in laws that loved her infectious laugh and who shared in her journey as she progressed through the stages of Early Onset Alzheimer's disease. In addition to her family, Jolynn was fortunate to have devoted and loyal caregivers. We are thankful for having Patricia, her primary caregiver, Kiki, Gina, Marie, and Jennifer as all part of her care team. She also received compassionate care from A*MED Community Hospice. Her family wishes to thank all who visited, called, offered prayers, and loved her through it all. Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from half-past nine o'clock until eleven o'clock in the morning on Friday, the 15th of November, at St. Cecilia Catholic Church, 11720 Joan of Arc in Houston. The Mass of Christian Burial is to be offered immediately following celebrated by Fr. Francis M. Macatangay, Pastor. Following the mass, all are invited to greet the family during a reception in the nearby Community Center. In lieu of customary remembrances, the family requests that memorial donations be directed toward NCRAD Genetics Study (an Alzheimer's family research study program), IU School of Medicine, C/O IU Foundation 0380009784, P.O. Box 6460, Indianapolis, IN 46206; or to The Kyle Zuleg Foundation, 520 Beaconsfield Ave., Naperville, IL 60565. The Kyle Zuleg Foundation was started 9 years ago after Jolynn lost her 16-year-old nephew Kyle. The Foundation supports organ donation and provides broadcasting scholarships. Please visit Ms. Swantkowski's online tribute page at www.GeoHLewis.com where memories and words of comfort and condolence may be left electronically for her family.
Donnessa LeAnn Vessakosol, BA ’95, of Rockwall, TX, died Feb. 13, 2019, at age 48. She was born March 25, 1970, in Anchorage, AK, to Donald Wesley Myers and Gloria Ann Huneycutt Myers. Donnessa was a member of the American Society of Appraisers and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Journal. She will be missed dearly by her family. Donnessa is survived by her daughters: Halley and Addison; father: Donald Myers and wife Carolyn; brother: Steven Myers and wife Stephanie; sisters: Amanda Henry and husband David, Jennifer Fernandez and husband Steve; nieces: Helen Hibbs, Donnessa Ann Henry, Elena Fernandez, Natalie Fernandez, Emily Fernandez; nephews: Joey Henry and Caelan Myers. She was preceded in death by her husband: Tony Vessakosol and her mother: Gloria Ann Huneycutt Myers. Funeral services will be held 10:00am, Wednesday, February 20, 2019, at First Baptist Church, 610 S. Goliad St., Rockwall, TX, 75087, with Pastor Steve Swofford officiating. Interment will follow in Friendship Cemetery, 28805 County Road 3107, Gladewater, TX, 75647. A gathering of family and friends will be held at The Gathering at Rest Haven Funeral Home-Rockwall Location, on Tuesday, February 19, 2019, from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Faith Presbyterian Hospice or to the Vessakosol Girls GoFundMe Account.
Dr. Heather Anne Blackburn, BA ’97, of Southlake, Texas, died surrounded by her family, Monday, November 25, 2019 at her home. She was 44. A graveside service is set for 2:00 PM, Friday, November 29, 2019 in the open air chapel at Evergreen Cemetery in Paris with Rev. Tony VanDerWilt officiating. The family will receive friends from 11:00 AM until 12:00 noon prior to the service on Friday at Fry & Gibbs Funeral Home. A visitation will be held beginning at 10:00 AM until the memorial service at 11:00 AM, Saturday, November 30, 2019 at Lucas Funeral Home in Grapevine, Texas. Fry & Gibbs Funeral Home has charge of the arrangements. Heather was born October 3, 1975 in Rochester, Minnesota to Ronald Clifton and Patricia Ann Bretl Blackburn. She graduated as salutatorian of the 1994 senior class of Paris High School and received her bachelor’s degree from Baylor University and the medical training from the University of Texas at Galveston. She was a partner and practiced at Spine Team Texas in Southlake working right up until the time of her death. Dr. Blackburn also administered oral boards to incoming physicians. She married Benny Irizarry on May 26, 2002 in Galveston. Heather had two sons, Mateo and Marcos who were the light of her life, and the courage behind her fighting spirit. She attended the Gateway Church in Southlake. Survivors include her husband, Benny Irizarry MD; two sons, Mateo and Marcos Irizarry; her father, Ron Blackburn and Carie Tu; her mother, Patricia Ruppert and husband, Ed; two sisters, Amy Hooten and husband, James and Amber Wilson and husband, Dereck; and two nieces, Kendyl and Kaley Wilson.
Claudia McLatcher, MSEd ’97, of Waco died Jan. 19. She was born in Detroit, Michigan, on March 16, 1944, to Ronald Rolling and Mary McGrail Rolling. A loving mother, teacher, and educational diagnostician, Claudia was also a McLennan County Master Gardener committed to beautifying her beloved city of Waco. A dedicated seamstress, she was always working on quilts and other handmade keepsakes to share with family and friends. Claudia loved to travel, and in the year leading up to her passing, she had visited Alaska, the Caribbean, her extended family in Wisconsin, her dear friends throughout many cities in which she lived, and her first great-grandchild in Whiteland, Indiana. While Claudia and David lived in many places over the years, she came to consider Waco, Texas, home. She earned a Master of Science in Education from Baylor University, learned to play golf, founded a Mahjong club, and enjoyed spending time with friends from various circles in which she ran. Claudia is survived by her husband of 53 years, David L. McLatcher; daughter, Beth Mans and husband, Gary; son, Christopher and wife, Sherry; and son, Michael and wife, Jenny. She is also survived by eight grandchildren, Kaitlin Rose, Jaimie Beth, Allyson Ann, Sarah Joyce, Jonathan David, Rebekah Rose, Margaret Helen, and Mary Claudia. Claudia had one great-grandchild, Evelyn Rose. A celebration of life service will be held on Saturday, February 22, 2020, at 2:00 p.m., in the Pavilion building at the Carleen Bright Arboretum, 1 Pavilion Way, Woodway TX 76712. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Claudia’s beloved church, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Waco, to Caritas of Waco, CaringBridge or the charity of your choice.