OBITUARY

Bernice Adell Swanson

October 23, 1917June 27, 2018

Bernice Adell Widmayer was born on October 23, 1917 in Minneapolis, MN. As the oldest of 3 children, she frequently cared for her brother and sister as her mother was not well. After graduating High School, she attended Business College and worked at various banks and businesses including the Social Security Administration. Her best friend introduced her to Carl Swanson who was completing his engineering degree at the U. of Minnesota. They married on April 3, 1943, just a week before he was shipped overseas during WWII. She continued to work to save money for their future home and they settled in Edina Minnesota when he returned. Their 3 children – Ronald, Carolyn, and Kurt – were born there and Bernice was involved with all their school and sport activities. In 1964 they moved to Virginia when Carl took a position with the Army Corp of Engineers at Ft. Belvoir. They joined Bethlehem Lutheran Church and actively volunteered there for the next 50 years. Their lives revolved around their children and their church family. Bernice sang in the choir and played piano for the children in Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. A wonderful pianist, she continued playing the piano at 3 senior centers until she was almost 95 years old.

Bernice returned to work again as the children went into college. Working at Coastal Engineering Research near Ft. Belvoir she received several awards and enjoyed her job. But once they retired and the children were out on their own, she and Carl bought an RV and enjoyed trips visiting family and friends. Back home, their lives life continued to revolve around their children and now grandchildren. Each summer everyone gathered for family time at the beach – she loved the beach and felt it important that everyone stay in touch with each other.

What people remember most about Bernice was her love for her family and her sweet and gentle personality. She was always positive in her outlook on life and exhibited strength, especially after her beloved Carl died in 1993. She was kind and generous and always put others before herself. She was forever making meals to give to friends or soup for those that weren’t feeling well. Guests were always welcome in her home and everyone always said that no one left the Swanson home hungry. She befriended everyone she met and always asked everyone how they were doing. Even at the very end when she was having difficulty breathing, her first question to people that came to visit her was how they were. She lived a blessed life for over 100 years and touched the hearts of everyone she met. Her husband, her 3 children, her 11 grandchildren, and her 7 great grandchildren were all blessed to have her in their lives. Her passing on June 27, 2018, has left all of us reeling, but we know she is at peace. Left to cherish her memory is her sister, Elizabeth Borden; her beloved children, Ronald (Patricia), Carolyn (Larry), and Kurt (Betsy); 11 treasured grandchildren, Erin (Christian), Meagan (Lathan), Laura (Patrick), Jennifer, Nicholas, Garth (Rachel), Krista (Wolf), Logan, Nathan, Lane, and Jack (Marissa); and 7 amazing great grandchildren, Ryan, Laurel, Anja, twins Samantha and Landon, Morgan, and Axel; and a multitude of nieces and nephews that were very dear to her.

Services

20 July

Visitation

11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Bethlehem Lutheran Church

8922 Little River Turnpike
Fairfax, VA 22031

20 July

Funeral Service

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Bethlehem Lutheran Church

8922 Little River Turnpike
Fairfax, VA 22031

20 July

Reception

1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Bethlehem Lutheran Church

8922 Little River Turnpike
Fairfax, VA 22031

REMEMBERING

Bernice Adell Swanson

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Kathy Lynch

July 16, 2018

Bernice was the most engaging senior I had ever met. We met her when Laura and Pat became a couple. We shared several Thanksgiving with her and her sister. She hosted a very impressive first anniversary party for Pat and Laura. She entertained many of my friends at Laura's baby shower. As you can see from this paragraph, seeing Bernice always meant a celebration for me and my family. We will miss her smile, engaging conversation, and her gracious way of entertaining.

Elizabeth Sundberg

July 16, 2018

Dear Ron, Carolyn, Kurt, and Family,

When I remember Aunt Bernice I think of faith, family, and fun. Aunt Bernice had a very strong faith. She was my Godmother and took that role very seriously. In her final days she said she wanted to go to heaven. She valued family. She cared for Grandma and Grandpa Widmayer, attended family events, and always welcomed us into her home. Finally, she was fun. We spent many family vacations together and always had an enjoyable time. I will miss Aunt Bernice but I have the same confidence that she had that she is now in the company of our Lord and Savior.

John Nirschl

July 15, 2018

You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Sorry for your loss of a wonderful mom, grandmother, great grandmother, in law, cousin, aunt, friend, .... etc.
For me she was an aunt.
I last time remember seeing her was when she visited Minneapolis, MN many years ago and we visited with her, and other relatives.
She made some time to tickle the pearls on a piano, and we had a sing along. What a great time we had with the visiting, singing, and all. It is a great memory of her for me.
We (she and I) usually exchanged Christmas cards every year which is a memory I also cherish.

Ida Lewis

July 15, 2018

Ron, Carolyn, Kurt and your families,
What a blessing your mom was to all of you, her nieces and nephews, her siblings, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren , her church family, and everyone she met. She was a special aunt that is for sure! I loved her laugh and the way she said my name. She always showed interest in myself, my children and my life. She was a wonderful individual who loved people and loved life. She will be truly missed by so many. God bless you all.

Krista Swanson McGavran

July 15, 2018

Grandma Swanson was always so thoughtful and putting others first. I have countless fond memories of her, including us baking and playing piano together during visits growing up, trips to the beach, her sweet cards, stories, and sense of humor, and we never left a visit empty-handed! She had such a positive impact those around her and we will miss her very much!!

Mark & Jane Borden

July 15, 2018

Ron, Kurt and Carolyn,

Jane and I have so many great memories of your mom and dad that I could write and tell stories for hours. Aunt Bernice had a great faith in God, had the biggest heart , and loved everyone around her. She had musical talent, a great mind and memory. When I would talk to her she always remembered our kids names and was truley interested in what they were up to! She was a very special person to all of the Borden’s! We were blessed with having her as a part of our lives. Although it was unfortunate we did not see her much in the last years of her life she will always be in our memories and hope we can be as loving and caring as she was to all. Our prayers go out to all of you and your family.

Mark and Jane Borden

Patrick Kempter

July 14, 2018

The memory of Bernice that stands out the most was the the day that she outlasted a scam artist. A man called her trying to get money while posing as a family member, but Bernice wasn't having it. She talked on and questioned him until he acquiesced and hung up.

Nancy Funderburk

July 14, 2018

Aunt Bernice was a very wonderful lady! She always made me feel so special, and her handwritten Christmas cards were treasured. I remember my mom always speaking so highly of Bernice. I believe she was very kind to my mom, who would have been about 15, when Carl and Bernice got married.

I am so sorry for your loss and will pray for peace and strength during this difficult time.

Nancy(Nirschl) and Mark Funderburk Family

Laura Kempter

July 14, 2018

I have so many memories of Grandma ranging from the wildly funny to the profoundly, endlessly selfless. So many little things will always be associated with her, like apple crisp, Betamax tapes of '80s cartoons, and wooden eggs from Easter at the White House. But of all of the things one could associate with her, the most constant was her generosity. She played for Little River, for my clarinet recitals, drove me to the doctor when I broke my finger in gym class (though, admittedly, that was a harrowing experience), and it was a rare day anyone could leave her hungry or empty-handed despite how hard they might protest. I can honestly say she was the most selfless person I have known and I have been better for knowing her.

Leslie Widmayer

July 14, 2018

It makes me smile just thinking about Aunt Bernice, she was a handful of energy to say the least!

As her Favorite Niece, (Widmayer Joke)
I brought her a Box of “Sees Chocolates”
From California for her 100th Birthday.
She opened the box, her eyes got so big as she looked for her Favorite. She put the Whole piece in her mouth and chomped away with a devilish grin on her face! Your in Gods arms now, Amen.
Your Favorite Niece, Leslie Widmayer