Sara Talbot Swingle Sowers departed this life on August 13th, 2021. She was born May 11th, 1944 to the late Robert M. Talbot and Georgianna Lentz Talbot of Crooksville, Ohio. Sara (or Sally as she was known to many) is survived by her beloved husband William L. Sowers, Sr., brothers William R. Talbot (Carol) of Belington, WV and Alan J. Talbot of Crooksville, OH, her step-daughters Chantelle (Ray) Wofter and Shannon Martin, step-sons William L. Sowers (Kelly) and Tad (Paula) Sowers, local. Also surviving are William’s mother Doris Sowers, and many nieces, nephews and their children along with many grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Sally was a pioneer in the education of children and youth with disabilities. She started her teaching career in the Muskingum County MR/DD Program (Starlight School) when classes were held in the school at East Fultonham, moving into the present facility the following year. She stayed at Starlight for seven years, enjoying many experiences and relationships which lasted a lifetime.
In 1970 she joined the Muskingum Area Joint Vocational School District in its second year of operation, where she stayed until she retired in 1993. In those 23 years she developed and supervised career and vocational education programs for youth with disabilities. She was the district’s first Vocational Evaluator and the district’s first Special Education Coordinator. She developed a career development program for special needs students which received national recognition from the Council for Exceptional Children, Division of Career Development. She also developed an Employability Skills Grading System which allowed students with disabilities to be evaluated on skills other than academic achievement. Sara many times stated that her professional success was made possible by a very active advisory committee of educators, ongoing personnel and parents, and by the capable and educated special needs staff of twenty teachers and paraprofessionals.
Apart from being an education pioneer, Sara’s pioneering spirit allowed her to be involved in clearing and restoring the farm in Brush Creek Township where she and her first husband, Paul E. Swingle cut the trees to build their home. Sally and Bill further developed the property to build a small park used for family outings and gatherings of nature-oriented friends. Sally and Bill loved entertaining at their “pond parties” where friends gathered for food and fellowship.
Sara’s love of nature and outdoor activities led her to enjoy swimming, gardening, horseback riding, boating and fishing, especially saltwater fishing which she and Bill enjoyed from their home in Florida.
Calling hours will be 2-4 and 6-8pm on Tuesday August 17 at THE SNOUFFER FUNERAL HOME 1150 WEST MILITARY ROAD ZANESVILLE. Funeral services will be held on Wednesday at 2pm in the Snouffer Chapel with Larry Harper officiating. Burial will follow in St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery in Stovertown.
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