Bobbie Swanson was born in Minneapolis, MN to Paul and Herta Vick on April 2, 1932. Her brother, Jay Vick, was born a few years later. Early benchmarks of her Christian faith were her baptism May 8, 1932 and her confirmation April 14, 1946 in St. Paul. During her pre-teen years, Bobbie’s father worked for the Ford Motor Company. Over a ten-year period, her mother took in over 70 foster children that lived for various periods of time in the Vick household.
At the age of 15, Bobbie’s family moved to Portland, Oregon. She became active in Walther League at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church where she gained many life-long friends. After graduating from Parkrose High School, she attended Oregon College of Education on a scholarship. At the end of her first semester, she was introduced to a fine man, Duane Swanson. Soon after that Duane was activated in the Air Force reserve and sent to Alaska for 13 months. Before departing, Duane gave Bobbie his fraternity pin in hopes she would stick with him. Bobbie continued in college for two years and worked as secretary. Not long after Duane’s return, they were engaged. Bobbie married the love of her life on August 23, 1953.
The Swanson family soon began to grow with the birth of Elaine in 1955, Eric in 1957, Valerie in 1958, and Leif in 1965. They moved from Portland into a new suburban development in Beaverton for a few years as the children entered elementary school.
When Duane’s employer, U-Haul International, moved corporate headquarters to the larger Phoenix market in 1967, the Swanson family followed to begin a new chapter in the Arizona desert. They settled in Scottsdale and soon joined Prince of Peace Lutheran Church. During this time Bobbie proudly served as homemaker and lovingly nurtured her four children. She enjoyed music, played the piano, sang in choirs, and taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible classes.
In 1976 she served as church council president, then accepted a position as office manager. A few years later she accepted a position as Assistant to Director Dr. Carlson at the Church of the Beatitude’s senior ministry that served older adults, allowing her to develop skills in counseling, training, seminar planning, and public speaking.
In 1984 and 1992 Bobbie was diagnosed with breast cancer. After undergoing surgery and chemotherapy she won the battle against the ugly cancer. A few years later she become Director of Senior Adult Ministry at Christ Church Lutheran in Phoenix where she and Duane were members. She also became a Stephens Minister, serving others with compassion and understanding in time of severe grief, suffering and loss.
Since childhood, Bobbie loved God and her Christian faith and life were rooted in His great love as a firm foundation. She embodied the overflowing grace of God to others in her unconditional love, kindness, active listening, and sincere care to her family, friends, and those in need.
After Duane retired in 1994, they moved full-time into their forest home at Starlight Pines, north of Payson. Over the years they made many wonderful friends and enjoyed hosting their children and grandchildren at “the cabin.” Additionally, Bobbie was instrumental in growing and facilitating a cancer support group through the American Cancer Society, serving many women from the Mogollon Rim area. She enjoyed taking daily walks in the forest--rain or shine.
In 2011 Bobbie and Duane moved out of the remote woods to Flagstaff where they enjoyed a nice bungalow with spectacular mountain and meadow views at the Peaks Senior Living Community.
They moved to Phoenix in 2015 when Duane’s health compelled them to move closer to family and health care services. The Terraces, a Senior Community, became their final residence. They happily rejoined Christ Church and felt “back home” in Christian fellowship. On April 10, 2016 Duane passed away after a one-year battle with prostate cancer. Later that year on August 8, youngest daughter Valerie also succumbed to cancer (pancreatic).
Bobbie loved her family and spending time together. But, next to her love for Jesus, she loved her beloved Duane most. Their marriage of 62 years was a beautiful, deeply devoted affection and unconditional love for each other—representing everything God designed marriage to be.
She was happy to live at the Terraces of Phoenix for 5 years, moving from independent to assisted and finally to nursing care living. Her family is grateful for the wonderful care, professionalism, and kindness of the staff. She loved all her caregivers, and we know they loved her.
Bobbie dearly loved all who survived her: brother Jay of Silverton, OR, daughter Elaine and husband Jack of Queen Creek, son Eric and wife Karen of Fort Collins, CO, and son Leif of Phoenix; 5 treasured grandchildren: Nicole, Janelle, Noelle, Taylor and Leah, and 5 great grandchildren: Nathan and Austin, Sebastian and Olive, and Kaia. She was preceded in death by her husband Duane and daughter Valerie in 2016.
On October 4, 2020, Bobbie was taken up in heavenly glory to be with her Lord and Savior. In her last few years, she dealt with Parkinson’s Disease, two broken hips, COVID 19, and infections, yet she handled these challenges with grace and kept a positive attitude. She died peacefully under the care of Hospice of the Valley and the Terraces staff. Bobbie, always a kind and friendly person, will be missed by all her family and friends. She will be remembered for her strong Christian faith, bright smile, kindness, acts of service to others, abundant grace, and perpetual gratefulness.
A service will be held Oct. 22, 1:00pm at Christ Church Lutheran, 3901 E. Indian School Rd, Phoenix, 85018.
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