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A student, teacher of life, not done yet

Aurelia Swafford, a former Ray Countian and math teacher, turns 104

Family members helped Aurelia Swafford celebrate her 104th birthday. From left, front: great-great-grandchildren Austin and Kate Knauss; Aurelia Swafford. Back row; daughter Bonnie and husband, David Knauss; Joan Dice, Aurelia’s niece; and Gloria and Forrest Swafford, daughter in-law and son. (Submitted photo)

Family members helped Aurelia Swafford celebrate her 104th birthday. From left, front: great-great-grandchildren Austin and Kate Knauss; Aurelia Swafford. Back row; daughter Bonnie and husband, David Knauss; Joan Dice, Aurelia’s niece; and Gloria and Forrest Swafford, daughter in-law and son. (Submitted photo)

By David Knopf/News Editor

Turning 100 is traditionally a milestone that draws families and newspaper photographers to nursing home receptions.

Aurelia Swafford, a teacher who spent most of her career in Ray County, turned 104 Aug. 4 looking hale and hearty enough to still fill a chalkboard with numbers.

“We were just talking to her about her teaching days,” said Joan Nicely, the activities director at Westbrook Care Center in Kearney. “We’re convinced she could still tutor students in math!”

Both Aurelia and her daughter, Bonnie Knauss, have maintained ties with Ray County through the local Daughters of the American Revolution chapter.

In an article published almost six years ago, Knauss told The Richmond News that her mother – the former Aurelia May Tanner – was born in rural Ray County in 1911, grew up in Orrick and eventually moved to Richmond. She graduated from Richmond High School in 1929, where she met Virgil Forrest Swafford, her future husband.

Aurelia Swafford spent two years at William Jewell College, Knauss said, where she studied to become a math teacher. Her first job was in Camden, then referred to as “Lower Town.”

The complete story is in the Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015 Richmond News.

Click here for our E-edition and read the rest of the story.

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