Dee W. Swain

Mother, Mamaw, Friend, Lover of Nature, Matriarch.

After a brief illness, Dee Swain, 83, passed away Friday, July 7 at St. Joseph Hospital in Lexington, KY. She was born Doris Louise Wilson, in Ashland, Kentucky, daughter of Morda and Lorena Wilson. A graduate of Ashland High School, she studied nursing at Berea College. Her first marriage produced two children: Robert (Robb) Edward Cabe II and Katha Renèe (Nè) Cabe. After her divorce, she returned to Ashland with her children. While working at King’s Daughters Hospital and Semet Solvay, she earned her bachelor’s degree at Morehead State University.

In the early ’70s, she and her children moved to Lexington where she worked as a substance abuse counselor and social worker. She began her 20+ year Kentucky state government employment as a research analyst for the Legislative Research Commission. During this time, she met and married the love of her life, Samuel Lee Swain. Together, they earned their master’s degrees in public administration from Kentucky State University.

Sharing their love of nature and adventure, in the early ‘80s, they designed and built their environmentally friendly, earth-sheltered home in North Franklin County, Kentucky. In 1982 at an invitation from Australian friends, they took their family “Down Under.” They enjoyed life in the Australian outback earning their living raising giant strawberries and in various other short-term employments. At one point, Dee taught aboriginal children and later served as an aide to a doctoral candidate who was studying tree-living kangaroos.

After several years, they returned to their Frankfort home and resumed their employment in state government. After Sam’s death in 1997, Dee remained in their eco-friendly home with her beloved German Shepherds and numerous flower gardens. Interest in her Celtic ancestry led her to become an avid follower of the “Outlander” books and television series. A true daughter of nature, she found peace and tranquility in frequent trips to North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

In addition to her children, she is survived by grandsons Christopher Edward Cabe and Zachary Robert Cabe of Richmond, Virginia; brothers James Roland Wilson of Paintsville and Roger Darrell Wilson of Ashland and sister Kathryn Lee Williams of Plymouth, Minnesota.

A private Interment of Ashes will take place in the Frankfort Main Cemetery. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that condolences or donations in her name be made to Berea College at or The Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Program at

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