Joan Swanson

IRON MOUNTAIN – Joan Swanson, 90, of Iron Mountain, died peacefully at ManorCare Health Services on Friday, Dec. 20, 2013.

Joan was born Oct. 17, 1923, in Manchester, England. She was the daughter of the late Edward and Margaret Fitzgerald. She married the late Eugene Swanson in 1945, at St. Mark’s Anglican Church in Manchester while he was serving in the Army Air Corps during World War II. Joan came to the United States in 1946, and first settled in Marquette. In 1957, the Swanson family moved to Iron Mountain when Eugene was transferred here with Lake Shore Inc.

Joan was a member of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, where she served on the Altar Guild and taught Sunday school when her children where young. She was also a Brownie leader, active in the PTA, and volunteered at the Memorial Hospital gift shop for many years. She was a beautiful seamstress and enjoyed sewing for herself and her daughter throughout the years.

Joan was educated in Anglican Church Schools in England, graduating from St. Mark’s school for girls in Manchester in 1940. When Joan was 17, she was called up to do war work during World War II. She went to work on radar modulators for airplanes at Metro Vickers until the end of the war. Before the war began, Joan was studying ballet at the Desmond School of Ballet in Manchester and danced with the company for several years.

Joan’s greatest joy was her family. She loved visiting with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She made sure that each one knew they were loved and special in her eyes. She was a wonderful storyteller and would often draw pictures as she told the story. We will miss her stories of her life in England, the happy songs she loved to sing, and the delicious cookies she enjoyed baking for all of us.

Joan was preceded in death by her husband, Eugene; her parents, Edward and Margaret Fitzgerald; her sister, Margaret Gereau; and her son, Keith.

Joan is survived by her daughter, Joanne (Jeff) Cowell of Iron Mountain; and her daughter-in-law, June Swanson of Marquette; grandchildren, Ryan (Shannon) Cowell of Champaign, Ill., Jasmine (Chris) Schmidt of Milwaukee, Janet (Brian) Anderson of Marquette, and Jason (Amanda) Swanson of Marquette; great-grandchildren, Ellen Joanne Cowell, Claire and Jacob Anderson, and Hannah and Micah Schmidt. Joan is also survived by several nieces and nephews; sister and brother-in-law, Lee and Dorothy Contois of Marquette; and sister-in-law Rose Swanson of Marquette. Relatives also survive in England and Canada.

Joan’s family would like to thank Dr. Terry Ryan and the wonderful staff at ManorCare for the loving and compassionate care they gave to Joan during her illness.

Visitation will be Friday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Erickson-Rochon & Nash Funeral Home.

Funeral services will be Friday at 11 a.m. the funeral home. Rev. Rise Thew Forrester will officiate.

Burial will be in Cemetery Park.

Condolences to the family of Joan Swanson may be expressed online at

The family has entrusted the Erickson-Rochon & Nash Funeral Home with the arrangements.