Yolanda Laurel Swope

October 1, 1945 - March 1, 2023
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Fred Dickey Funeral & Cremation Services
Rosa Garcia
Michael Mares
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Yolanda Margarita Laurel Swope, (77), was called to be with our Lord on March 1, 2023.  She passed away peacefully at home in the presence of her family and caregiver. She will be sadly missed and lovingly remembered.  Her parting has left a void in the hearts of all who knew and loved her. Her life was rich with memories of working at University Hospital in San Antonio, hosting gourmet dinners at her house with her beloved spouse, Dick, and her many ski trips with the Los Amigos Ski Club of San Antonio. She will be remembered as a beloved wife, step-mother, step-grandmother, sister, aunt and devoted friend.

Yolanda was a graduate of Ursuline Academy (1963) in Laredo, Texas and continued her education to receive a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at the University of Texas at Austin (1968) and a Masters of Business Administration from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio (1989).

While in the seventh grade at thirteen years old, Yolanda excelled in spelling. She took first place in the Webb County spelling bee and the regional contest in Corpus Christi. She won the honor of highest ranking ever achieved by a South Texas spelling champ when she secured tenth place in the National Spelling Bee in Washington DC. At the time she was spelled down, she was the youngest in the spelling event and the last contestant from Texas to leave the contest. Yolanda continued her love of spelling into adulthood where she challenged and most often beat her opponents in the game of Scrabble.

Yolanda was one of three women to graduate from her pharmacy school class of about eighty students. She became a bright light in pharmacy in San Antonio. She started at Bexar County Hospital in San Antonio in 1971, which was later renamed University Hospital. Yolanda was proud to be in San Antonio working at a teaching hospital. Yolanda was named Director of Pharmacy in 1991. She instituted numerous programs involving pharmacists’ entry into clinical services at the hospital. Her focus primarily was on patient care – pharmacists working alongside physicians and residents in a collegial environment. Yolanda retired after 41 years of service at University Hospital in 2013.

Yolanda was a member of several pharmacy organizations and held numerous office positions. In San Antonio she was Secretary of Central Society of Hospital Pharmacists, 1975; and President, 1976; Board member of Texas Society of Hospital Pharmacists (TSHP), 1976; and Seminar Co-Chair of TSHP, 1981. Yolanda presented poster presentations at MidYear Clinical Meetings throughout the country for several years and gave many platform presentations at MidYear. She was an excellent speaker and sought after for her leadership in hospital pharmacy.

Yolanda initiated numerous clinical programs at University Hospital. In 1976 she was selected in a newly created position to be the Assistant Coordinator of Professional Practice Clerkships. This involved planning, organizing, coordinating and evaluating all hospital practice clerkships of pharmacy students in the San Antonio area. She was also appointed as a Clinical Instructor on the faculty of the College of Pharmacy, at the University of Texas at Austin. Yolanda held this position for many years. She met many students in this position and helped students obtain their first job after graduating from pharmacy school. She retained many student graduates from the pharmacy program where they made significant contributions to the University Health System.

In 1997 in honor of their parents, Yolanda, along with her siblings, (all graduates of the university) established The Alonzo Z. Laurel and Esther G. Laurel Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Pharmacy, at the College of Pharmacy, University of Texas at Austin. The scholarship supports future pharmacists from South Texas in their pursuit of higher education. In 1994, Yolanda and her sisters, three pharmacists, endowed a scholarship for the next generation of professionals. Through scholarship support Yolanda wanted future pharmacists to know those of us that paved the way are there for them and to recognize the gift that our parents had given us with the incredible gift of a college education.

Yolanda was a diehard Longhorn Football fan. Win or lose, she attended many games and watched on television when she no longer could do so  in person. Yolanda’s blood ran burnt orange for her beloved university. Along with her siblings, Yolanda is part-owner of the Rancho Don Alonzo, Alonzo Z. Laurel, Ltd., in Oilton, Texas.

Yolanda touched many lives with her kindness and generous spirit. Her quick wit and sense of humor attracted everyone to her. She has said that being a pharmacist was one of the best decisions she ever made. She had followed in the footsteps of her older sister, Sylvia. Under her leadership as Director of Pharmacy, she advocated for patients. She felt this was her guiding light – to be there for the patient. Yolanda was very proud of her staff and all the hard work that went into making University Hospital Pharmacy the premier pharmacy that it is today.

Yolanda and her beloved spouse, Dick, built a lovely home in 1999 at Cordillera Ranch in Boerne, Texas and resided there with their faithful Border Collies – Chula and Mabel (deceased) and Chica. Their home was decorated by avidly collecting art pieces of anything related to Border Collies. They loved to entertain family and friends at their home. They enjoyed feeding the deer and birds at the ranch while watching the beautiful nature outdoors.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Richard (Dick) Dale Swope; her parents, Alonzo Z. Laurel and Esther Garcia Laurel; her sister, Diana Maria Laurel; and her brother, Alonzo Z. Laurel Jr.

Yolanda is survived by her step-children, Cheryl (David) Sparks and Rich (Phebe) Swope Jr. of Colorado Springs, Colorado; sisters Sylvia (Luis) Vela Jr. of Laredo, Texas; Anita (Joe) Ramirez of San Antonio, Texas; and Nora (Brian) Francis of Fenton, Michigan; brother Ricardo (Gabriela Gonzalez) Laurel of Boerne, Texas; nieces and nephews, Luis Alonzo (Dawn) Vela of San Antonio, Texas; Sylvia Yvette Vela of Laredo, Texas; Debbie (Eric) Wiesner of Montrose, Colorado; Sandra (Lucas) Reyna of San Antonio,Texas; David Peter Francis and Elizabeth Laurel Francis of Fenton, Michigan; and great-nephew Eric Caudle Jr. of Laredo, Texas; great-niece London Vela of San Antonio, Texas;  great-nephew Rome Reyna and great-niece Kay Reyna of San Antonio, Texas;  and numerous cousins and friends.

The family wishes to thank all her wonderful relatives and friends for their thoughts and prayers and with their love have been so supportive during her long illness. A very special thank you to all her dedicated caregivers (Ana, Gaby, Jesse, Magda, and Sofia) who patiently and lovingly cared for her during her illness. Thank you to all her doctors, Dr. Ramon Cancino, Dr. Gary Songco, Dr. Ben Zertuche, Angelo Garcia, RN with Touchstone Hospice and nurses, nurse aides, physical, occupational and speech therapists who always took such great care of her. Special thanks to sister-in-law, Gabriela Gonzalez Laurel, who patiently and lovingly cared for Yolanda and Dick and assembled a very capable staff of aforementioned caregivers. It was under her direction, hard work and dedication, that enabled Yolanda to live out her life  peacefully in the comfort of her home.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Yolanda Laurel Swope Endowed Excellence Fund and would be greatly appreciated. Funds shall be used to support the educational needs of students in the College of Pharmacy. Gifts by mail may be sent to: Gift Processing, P.O. Box 7458, Austin, Texas 78713. The memo line should indicate a gift being made in memory of Yolanda Laurel Swope.

Visitation will be from 8:30 AM to 9:30 AM at Fred Dickey Funeral and Cremation Services, 1320 Trey Dr., Laredo, Texas, followed by  mass at 10:00 AM. The Funeral Mass will be held at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 555 E. Del Mar Blvd., Laredo, Texas. Interment will follow at the Calvary Catholic Cemetery.

Arrangements are under the direction of Fred Dickey Funeral and Cremation Services, 1320 Trey Dr., Laredo, Texas.

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Service Schedule

Visitation Information

Date: Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Fred Dickey Funeral & Cremation Services


1320 Trey Dr.
Laredo, Texas 78041

Service Information

Date: Tuesday, March 14, 2023

St. Patrick Catholic Church


555 Del Mar Blvd.
Laredo, Texas 78041

Cemetery Information

Date: Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Calvary Catholic Cemetery


3600 McPherson Ave.
Laredo, Texas 78041


Life Event Timeline

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Timeline for Yolanda Laurel Swope

Born: October 1, 1945
August 1, 1966
Died: March 1, 2023

Condolences for Yolanda Laurel Swope

Fred Dickey Funeral & Cremation Services

Our sincere condolences.

The staff of Fred Dickey Funeral & Cremation Services.


Rosa Garcia posted on 3/13/23

I met Yolanda in the fall semester of 1966, the month after the UT Tower shootings. (You can hear her interview about her experiences that tragic day in the Event Timeline of this obituary). Due to thousands of cancellations on the waiting list for University Housing, I was assigned a room in Blanton Dorm, directly across from the Pharmacy School Building -- with a Pharmacy student roommate & Yolanda across the hall. By the end of the year they had convinced me to change my major to Pharmacy! Who knew that over the next 55+ years, Yolanda & I would be sometime roommates & neighbors, long-time co-workers (over 40 years) and forever friends. May perpetual light shine upon you, my dear friend...you are missed...see you on the other side!


M. Lynn Crismon posted on 3/10/23

I remember Yolanda from when I was a new PharmD resident working in the pharmacy at Bexar County and how patient and tolerant she was with us young bucks. I had the pleasure of being able to interact and collaborate with Yolanda throughout our respective careers. She was a wonderful and persistent supporter for The University of Texas College of Pharmacy and our program at UTHSC San Antonio. She was also an outstanding advocate for pharmacy and for the development of student pharmacists and young pharmacists. She made an impact, and she will be remembered.


Jean smith posted on 3/10/23

I remember Yolanda fondly. She was kind and helpful and a fierce advocate for the patients at UH. It was always a pleasure working with her. Jean Smith


Michelle Farleo posted on 3/10/23

To the Swope and Laurel family may your beloved be greeted by angels to meet her redeemer Jesus and rejoice in heaven . May mother Mary comfort you here while on earth, in your sorrowful times. Being a friend of her sister Nora I had the privilege to learn what a loving sister she has been to her family. God Bless you! Michelle Farleo


Michael Mares posted on 3/9/23

My sincere condolences to the Laurel family. Yolanda was a trailblazer in hospital Pharmacy. She will be greatly missed but the memories I have of her will always be of the sweetest & generous person she was. Nora please get in touch with me. “ Eternal rest grant to her, O Lord, and the perpetual light shine upon her. May the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace”.Amen


Donnie Holman posted on 3/9/23

Burn bright my beautiful friend. You are loved and missed.


Donnie Holman posted on 3/9/23

My deepest sympathy on the loss of your beloved Yolanda. Take comfort in knowing that Heaven gained another Angel. Farewell my beautiful friend. May You Rest in Peace and Light.


Bob Mazzoni posted on 3/9/23

Very sorry about Yolanda’s passing…I was her Brother Alonzo’s roommate in Law School at St. Mary’s Univ….She would have us over for Mexican Food on a regular basis…We spent special times together both during and after Law Scool…Her obituary describes her to a tee…She was a warm and fun person to be around….God Bless, Bob Mazzoni, Scranton, Pa.