Gillian B. (Roberts) Switala

Born: Sun., Dec. 15, 1940
Died: Tue., Dec. 16, 2014


6:00 PM to 8:00 PM, Sat., Jan. 03, 2015
Location: McCommons Funeral Home

Mass of Christian Burial

4:00 PM Sun., Jan. 04, 2015
Location: Christ Our King and Savior Catholic Church

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Gillian B. Switala (nee Roberts) passed away peacefully following a brief illness on Tuesday, December 16, 2014.  She left while surrounded by her devoted family, just as she had spent every prior Advent season: celebrating her birthday among her Georgia friends, and honoring the Holiday season blanketed by her children in New York.    Gil was born on December 15, 1940 in Westchester, N.Y. to Mr. and Mrs. Harold Roberts.  A bright and compassionate student, Gillian attended Georgetown nursing school where she met her husband of 53 years, Dr. Robert G. Switala.  Gillian and Robert spent the first part of their journey overseas with the US Navy, where Gillian began raising their three sons: Keith Anthony, Kurt Thomas, and Kent Gregory Switala.  Following Robert’s discharge from the service, Gillian’s family moved to Orange County NY and joined St. Patrick’s Parish.  They relished 30 wonderful years in the Hudson Valley.  Gillian was a career educator, eventually being named a Superintendent in the Monroe Woodbury school system.  While raising her three boys and working full time, Dr. Switala earned her masters and doctorate degrees in health education from Colombia University.  During that time, she also worked for the New York State Education system.  She helped launch one of the nation’s first comprehensive Aids Education programs, now known as The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program.  She was an avid reader, Civil War historian, trivia buff and even ran the New York City marathon  Her passions included the New York theater, window shopping, Trivial Pursuit and Chinese food.  Gillian and Bob also loved to travel, and explored six continents together.  Following their retirement in 1997, Gillian and Robert owned and operated the Stonegate Bed and Breakfast, in Central Valley NY, which served the Woodbury and West Point Community.  As the primary hostess, Gil cultivated her savory culinary prowess.  Gillian and Robert would later retire to the warmer climate of Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, Ga., and join the Christ Our King Catholic Church.  Gillian initially helped staff and run the Episcopal Good Samarian health clinic, and cared for our community’s neediest patients.  In her spare time, she was also elected the president of the Friends of Greene County Library, and was involved in local polling committees.  Gillian rapidly became known for her charitable work, giving spirit, quick wit, welcoming smile, and her sharp sense of humor.  A lifelong exercise enthusiast, Gillian loved Reynolds.  She took up yoga and golf, and became a fixture on the local ladies’ circuit.  She delighted in her afternoon walks around the Plantation’s cart paths.  Reynolds loved her back.  Fourteen years in the Georgia sun helped soften part of her stoic New England manner, and awaken her southern hospitality.  In a life overflowing with blessings and accomplishments, Gillian’s most treasured role was grandmother.  She hosted her eight grandchildren on the waters, tennis courts and horse trails of Lake Oconee every summer.  A selfless spirit who both came and left us during the Christmas season, Gillian truly embodied Jacob Marley immortal creed: “Charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were all her business.”  She dearly loved her family and friends, and elevated everyone she encountered along her remarkable journey.  Dr. Switala was predeceased by both her parents and her sister Joanna Narburgh.  Gillian is survived by her loving husband, three sons and their spouses, numerous cousins, nieces and nephews, and her eight prized grandchildren. 

The family will receive visitors at the McCommons Funeral Home on Saturday, January 3, 2015 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  A mass of Christian burial will take place on January 4, 2015 at 4:00 pm at Christ Our King Catholic Church.  Hospitality will immediately follow the service.  Burial will follow in a private family ceremony.  In lieu of flowers, Gillian requests that memorial contributions may be made to the Friends of Greene County Library, 610 S. Main Street, Greensboro, GA 30642.  McCommons Funeral Home, 109 W. Broad St., Greensboro, GA, 706-453-2626, is in charge of arrangements.  Visit us at to sign the online register.


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Condolence Booklet

Jane Cobb
   Posted Fri December 19, 2014
Dear Bob and family, What a special lady, neighbor and friend. She contributed so much to our community and will be greatly missed. I am praying for the Lord to give you many happy memories as a family in the days ahead and strength for each day during these especially hard times.
Love and Prayers, Jane Cobb

Elaine & Ray McGinty
   Posted Sat December 20, 2014
Words cannot express the loss we feel; but we are so fortunate to have experienced her true friendship and loyalty.

Elaine & Ray

Tom and Margie Rouse
   Posted Sun December 21, 2014
Dear Bob and Family,
Our hearts are hurting with you. May you find comfort in your cherished memories during this difficult time.
Our love, Tom and Margie

Alla and Charles Campbell
   Posted Mon December 22, 2014
Bob, we are so sorry for your (and the community's) loss. Know we continue to think about you and your family and know our prayer is for strength and peace as you are surrounded by your loved ones.

John and Kay Hinds
   Posted Mon December 22, 2014
She was indeed a special lady. We have been blessed by her friendship.
You and the family will continue to be in our prayers.

Janice Fairburn
   Posted Tue December 23, 2014
Dear Bob & family,
Gil touched so many lives in the time the Lord gave her on earth. Gil & I met at a PLC luncheon and I will never forget her beautiful smile and charismatic personality. May Jesus Christ give you His strength in the days ahead and flood your mind with all the good memories you both shared.

Clint and Rosemary Orsi Holland
   Posted Tue December 23, 2014
Dear Bob, Kurt, Keith and Kent,
It is with great sadness that Clint and I express our sympathy to you in the loss of Gill. What a wonderful woman, wife, mother and grandmother. As Gill's cousin, I so enjoyed her visits as a young girl to Taunton, Somerset and Cape Cod with Aunt May. Gill would always spend many hours a day playing sports, but would end the day curled up in a corner with a good book, and many nights reading by flashlight under the covers.
Her life at Georgetown grew into her greatest love with you, Bob followed by the birth of her three sons, and the frosting of her married life was her beautiful grandchildren.
In time, may your good memories of Gill replace the sadness you feel today.
Love, Clint and Rosemary Orsi Holland

Linda McGuire
   Posted Fri December 26, 2014
I just read about Gill in the Monroe Photo News. I was very sad to read of her passing. We started together at the North Main Elementary in September, 1969 and worked together for many years. She was the nurse in school at the time. She was always kind and compassionate. Although I haven't seen her since 1997, when she retired, I still feel the loss of a special person. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Jackie & Joe Scalzo
   Posted Sat December 27, 2014
Bob, Joe and I were shocked and saddened by Gil's passing. We spent many enjoyable Sunday afternoons golfing with her and Saturday evenings playing bridge. She had such a great smile and quick wit. We will remember her with fond memories and add her and your family to our prayers.

maureen and peggy ryan
   Posted Sat December 27, 2014
Dear Dr. Switala,
Peggy called me here in Ireland where I now live and told me the sad news about Mrs Switala. You were a wonderful boss and Mrs Switala was always so friendly and kind to us.
My prayers go out to you and your family. With deepest symnpathy. from Maureen and my Sister Peggy Ryan Your Dental Assistants Years Ago God Bless

Ed and Vicki Musielak
   Posted Sun December 28, 2014
Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your beloved sister, Sylvia.
Thinking of you and your family.
Ed and Vicki

Irma Milhous
   Posted Tue December 30, 2014
Gill was a very special lady and will be missed by many.

Karen and Ken Jones
   Posted Wed December 31, 2014
We are both so very sorry to hear of your loss Doc. Please extend our sympathies to your family.

Cindy Reinke
   Posted Wed December 31, 2014
Dear Bob & Sons,
You are not alone in your sorrow...Find peace in knowing that others share very deeply in your loss. Gil was a very special person who touched so many in Reynolds Plantation, RP Veterans, the local Greensboro community, & COKAS parishioners. May you find comfort in knowing that caring thoughts are with you & your family.
With deepest sympathy,
Cindy & Bob Reinke

Debra (Rowell) Bushey
   Posted Thu January 01, 2015
Bob, Keith, Kurt, Kent, Daughter In-Laws, and Grandchildren, My heart goes out to you all. As Gillians cousin I too was extremely shocked and saddened to hear of her passing. She was such a beautiful person both inside, and outside. I regret that we hadn't seen Gillian in many years, some how time got the best of us!!
Love, Debbie (Rowell) Bushey

Betsy Rowell Buckner
   Posted Thu January 01, 2015
Dear Bob, Keith, Kurt and Kent and Family,

I'm so saddened to learn of Gil's passing. What an amazing and beautiful woman she was! Growing up only a few houses away, I always felt pride in having such a special cousin. Bob, I have fond memories of your lovely wedding in Washington; You were such a fun and energetic couple, and I clearly remember the excitement of your visits when you two were in Hastings. I feel lucky to have babysit your sweet little guys on occasion when Gil was at Columbia: was certainly in awe of all Gil accomplished! These are memories I will always hold in my heart.

Though the years and distance have separated us, I feel a tremendous sense of loss knowing Gil is gone from our earth. May her everlasting spirit and love always light up your lives, and the beauty of such a beloved wife, mom and grandmother be your inner strength.

Wish so much that I could be there with you all to celebrate Gil's life. I tried to work it out, but family matters here in California prevent me from going. My thoughts will be with you all this weekend.

With much love to all,
Betsy (Rowell) Buckner and family

Jim and Deb Kolis
   Posted Fri January 02, 2015
To Uncle Bob and the boys,
We are both very sorry to hear the news of Aunt Gillian passing. I know that Jim and I have not seen you in years however, please accept our condolences. God has taken her to be by his side to be with him. Hope you are all doing fine. Once again God Bless the family.

Robin Burkhardt
   Posted Sat January 03, 2015
Please accept my sympathy.