September 19, 1923 – April 12, 2018
Berdine Swenson died on Thursday, April 12, 2018, in her 94th year. She was predeceased by her husband of 57 years, J. Robert "Bob" Swenson, and two beloved granddaughters. Berdine was born in Ohio where she was valedictorian of her high school class and earned her RN degree. Her intent to serve overseas during World War II, as many of her nursing friends did, was denied because of a heart murmur. She remained stateside where she worked long, exhausting hours with a high patient load due to the wartime nursing shortage. She met and married Bob, a chemical engineer, in 1945, and they started a family in Ohio. She and Bob eventually retired to North Carolina where they both played golf, and Berdine found numerous ways to volunteer her time and expertise. She stayed in North Carolina for another eight years after Bob's death until she moved to the Colonnades in Charlottesville, Virginia, to be closer to her children, John (Ida), Janet (Richard), and Paul (Lorna). Certain strands stretch throughout Berdine's life. Her love of music began early. She was six when her grandmother offered to give her piano lessons and she enthusiastically said, "yes." She sang in church choirs, served as the choir director at her church in North Carolina, and took organ lessons in retirement so she could play in church. Over the years she taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School in addition to helping with music. She joined Olivet Presbyterian Church shortly after moving to Charlottesville and faithfully attended. She was also a lover of books. She claimed she read every book in her home town public library as a child. When she was raising children, Berdine was the least likely in the family to be playing games, but in retirement and especially at the Colonnades, she played everything from bocci to bridge to dominoes to wi-bowling and made many dear friends in the process. She derived her greatest joy from her children and their spouses, her seven grandchildren and their spouses, and her dozen great grandchildren. Few things gave her more pleasure than in-person visits and games, or photographs and videos from the youngest members of her family who called her "Great." Thanksgiving was a favorite holiday for all to come together and enjoy each other's company. Her kindness to others, her sense of humor, her warm smile, and her love of justice will be sorely missed by those who knew and loved her. The last page in her earthbound life has been turned, but she is now in a more glorious place. A memorial service and celebration of her life will be held at the Colonnades on Saturday, April 21, 2018, at 2 p.m. with Pastor Albert Connette officiating. Special thanks to the staff and her caregivers at the Colonnades and Hospice. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to Olivet Presbyterian Church, 2575 Garth Rd., Charlottesville, VA 22901, or the Hospice of the Piedmont, 675 Peter Jefferson Parkway, Charlottesville, VA 22911 www.hopva.org.
- Memorial Service Saturday, April 21, 2018