OBITUARY

Bernice Adell Swanson

October 23, 1917June 27, 2018
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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

  • Visitation Friday, July 20, 2018
  • Funeral Service Friday, July 20, 2018
  • Reception Friday, July 20, 2018
  • Graveside Service Wednesday, September 12, 2018
REMEMBERING

Bernice Adell Swanson

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Elizabeth Jean Borden

July 21, 2018

Dear Ron, Carolyn, Kurt and Family,

Bernice was the oldest in our family of three children. My brother Lloyd was the middle child and I was the youngest. My mother was not well so Bernice watched over the two of us. Many times Bernice drove and I was the tag along when we went out with her friends.

It was not an easy time for my parents as we grew up during the depression and had very little money. Bernice worked and went to school and became a stenographer. She got a job and her income helped the family with finances.

Bernice met Carl during WWII. The family really liked Carl. They got married and soon after Carl was sent overseas so Bernice lived with us. Bernice then decided to go overseas to be with Carl, got pregnant and then returned to MN. Ron, their first child was born. We all loved him and helped care for him. When Carl got out of the service they bought their first home in Edina and then had two more children, Carolyn and Kurt. We were all a close family and had wonderful times as the children grew up. Carl then accepted a new job and the family moved to VA. Every summer our families visited in VA or MN. Our children were all together and had a fun time.

Our families continued to be very close and when my husband passed away I would go out and spend time with Bernice and loved her. Bernice and her family were a blessing to all of my family. She was the most loving, caring sister that anyone could have. I truly miss being with her but someday we will be together again in heaven.

Love Aunt Jean

Kristin Haynes

July 20, 2018

Our family joined Bethlehem in 2000, so didn’t know Bernice for many of her amazing 100 years but have fond memories of her helping with VBS in her 90’s! She was an absolute delight and we will miss her. My most favorite memory was of her supporting my daughters by buying their Girl Scout Cookies. I will always think of her with Do-si-dos! ❤️

Laura Widmayer

July 20, 2018

Aunt Bernice was a woman of great faith, love and kindness. She will always be a cherished memory. I loved hearing her talk about our family history, along with the current family affairs. She always made it a point to know how you were doing and wish you God's Blessings. Aunt Bernice took time to know you, love you and pray for you...she was truly one of a kind! She was That box of See's Chocolates!
With love,
Laura Widmayer

Wolfgang McGavran

July 20, 2018

Besides how nice Bernice was, I will always remember—and be impressed by—her amazing memory. When her granddaughter Krista and I were dating, Krista must have told her when my birthday was. So, even before I met her, she remembered my birthday and never let it go by without a beautiful card. She was so thoughtful. As someone who has trouble remembering a few birthdays of close family members, that will always impress me!

Logan Swanson

July 19, 2018

Grandma Swanson truly left an impact on this world through her kindness and love to those around her. It brings a smile to my face thinking about the times with her during my childhood: brownies, root beer floats, and always insisting that I drink my orange juice :)
I will truly miss her.
Love,
Logan Swanson

Erin Shrauder

July 19, 2018

I will miss hearing "what do you know", "god bless you" , "how's your husband", "when do you think she will get a ring" and her Ra Ra Sis Boom Ba cheer. I will miss seeing Grandma with her sister, Jeannie. I will miss bringing the kids and having dinner with Great Grandma at Little River Glen. I will miss hearing stories about Ronnie, Carolyn and Kurt. I will miss her wonderful long term memory. I will miss her offering the great grandkids cookies....after they have just eaten root beer floats. I will miss having Grandma at our house for Christmas morning. I will miss Grandma introducing me to EVERYONE because she was so proud of her family. And I hope she knows how proud of her I am. But most of all I will just miss Grandma (aka Great Grandma). I will cherish the memories, recipes and stories and am so grateful we had so much time with her.

Lathan Wells

July 19, 2018

Grandma Swanson was very welcoming to me when her granddaughter, Meagan, and I started dating. I will never forget how she made me feel like part of the family from the beginning, and was always asking Meagan how I was doing. She was overjoyed when Meagan told her she was getting married, and she has loved our children, her great-grandchildren, so much that it just brings a smile to my face. She was a wonderful, funny, extremely intelligent woman who put everyone in a good mood whenever I was around her. The family will miss her, but has plenty of great memories of her in our hearts.

Marie Bakke

July 19, 2018

Bernice made church fun! I remember one casual service we did in our Fellowship Hall with a reading from Exodus... Moses in the desert. Bernice had been tasked with piano music, and she conspiratorially whispered to me before the end of the reading, "I'm going to play the Exodus Song from the movie... Do you think that's too much?" Bernice shared a rousing rendition and the congregation loved it! I will miss Bernice's laughter and love, the way she always made everyone part of her family.

Madeline Nicol

July 18, 2018

With the words “be nice” in her name, Great Aunt Bernice was the embodiment of kindness, generosity and Faith. It was always a fun event when we got to see her; either when we were visiting the East coast, or when she came to Minnesota. I always looked forward to the cute birthday cards she would send and getting to call her the day after my birthday to wish her a happy birthday. Whenever we talked or wrote, she always was full of words of encouragement, warmth and love. Her Faith was truly inspiring and you could always rely on either seeing “blessings” or “God’s love” written in one of her cards. Great Aunt Bernice will always hold a special place in my heart.
Love,
Madeline Nicol

George Garbe

July 18, 2018

Carl and Bernice were both such lovely people. My wife, Annie, and I were members of BLC for around 35 years and it seem as if the two of them were always there on Sundays. Later, after Carl passed, the same was true of Bernice. Always friendly, always warm-hearted, always there...a lovely human being. God bless all of the Swanson clan as their lives continue. Carl and Bernice will live in the hearts of all who knew them.
George Garbe