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Published March 02, 2013, 12:00 AM

Sara Swanick Friesz

Sara Swanick Friesz, 92, died peacefully in Charlottesville, Virginia, on February 27, 2013, surrounded by the loving presence of her family. Services will be held at 3 pm, Saturday, March 2, at Hill and Wood Funeral Home, Charlottesville. Burial will be held at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

Sara was born to James Bernard and Ethel Crum Swanick in Bismarck, North Dakota, on February 14, 1921. The youngest of six children, the only daughter, her family welcomed her as their "Valentine sweetheart." Sara's parents owned the McKenzie Mercantile Company in McKenzie, ND. Her maternal grandparents, Charles E. Crum and Anna DeLapp Crum, who came from Virginia, IL, were early pioneers of Burleigh County, ND, homesteading in the mid 1880s before North Dakota became a state.

Sara Swanick Friesz

Sara Swanick Friesz, 92, died peacefully in Charlottesville, Virginia, on February 27, 2013, surrounded by the loving presence of her family. Services will be held at 3 pm, Saturday, March 2, at Hill and Wood Funeral Home, Charlottesville. Burial will be held at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

Sara was born to James Bernard and Ethel Crum Swanick in Bismarck, North Dakota, on February 14, 1921. The youngest of six children, the only daughter, her family welcomed her as their "Valentine sweetheart." Sara's parents owned the McKenzie Mercantile Company in McKenzie, ND. Her maternal grandparents, Charles E. Crum and Anna DeLapp Crum, who came from Virginia, IL, were early pioneers of Burleigh County, ND, homesteading in the mid 1880s before North Dakota became a state.

Sara attended elementary school in McKenzie, North Dakota, where she lived with her maternal grandmother for several years when the Depression scattered the members of her family across the state. When the economy lifted, Sara rejoined her parents in Fargo, and graduated from Fargo High School in 1939. She enrolled at the Agricultural College and completed two years of study before entering the US Civil Service.

Sara lived and worked in post-WWII Washington, DC, ultimately as a personal secretary to Clinton P. Anderson, Secretary of Agriculture (1945-1948). She enjoyed the excitement of activity in the nation's capital. There she met her husband, Raymond H. Friesz of Mandan, North Dakota, an officer in the US Navy Dental Corp. Sara and Ray were married in Washington, DC on May 26, 1948.

Together Sara and Ray made the Navy their home for three decades. They had two daughters, Brenda and Deborah, and traveled with them across the United States, Europe and North Africa. After devoting herself to raising her daughters and supporting her husband's Navy career, she re-entered the Civil Service as an administrator in Honolulu, San Diego and New York City.

When Sara and Ray retired to Sun City West, AZ, in 1982, Sara discovered a second vocation in real estate. She was a top-selling agent, ultimately reaching the $6,000,000 mark, for which her family affectionately dubbed her the Six Million Dollar Woman. Sara retired from her twenty-year career in real estate at age 87.

In 2011 Sara moved to Charlottesville, VA, where she spent the last years of her life enjoying family and friends. Known to her loved ones as Meme, she is remembered for many wonderful qualities, including her loving affection, generosity, grace, wit, joy in life, and unique sparkle. She is survived by her daughters, Brenda Amida Cary, Berkeley, CA, and Deborah Rabia Povich and her husband Ron, Stanardsville, VA; grandsons Michael Carychao and wife Diana, Ahriel Povich and wife Nicole, and granddaughter Lexa Cary; and great-grandsons Otter Carychao and Teo Povich.

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