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Wildie Jeanette (Greenwood) Swanson

1922 ~ 2022 (age 99)


Wildie Jeanette  Swanson

Wildie Jeanette Swanson, age 99, died peacefully in her sleep on May 6, 2022 . Wildie was born in Minneapolis, MN, on October 26, 1922, to the late William and Anna Greenwood (Troseth).  She grew up on the family homestead just north of Minneapolis where her mother sold eggs to raise money for her college tuition.  She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Home Economics and was a member of Gamma Omicron Beta Sorority.  She met her husband of 72 years, Donald J. Swanson, while attending the university, and became an accomplished homemaker and mother of six children.

Wildie was an original member of the Minnetonka Herb Society and Minnesota Arboretum Auxiliary.  She was an advocate and supporter of the University of Minnesota, a lover and supporter of the visual and performing arts, music, history, and travel. She loved the natural world, instigated a tradition of annual family camping trips and restoration of an old log cabin on the north shore, was the first in the family to buy snowshoes, the first to learn to ski, and typically the first to smile or laugh – combining warmth and wit.   Creative and artistic she was an accomplished seamstress, embroiderer and rosemaler. Creating her own original designs. But her true talent blossomed in her exquisite artfully created dried wreaths purposely made and sold to support the Arboretum. She especially enjoyed spending time with and cooking for her family and friends. She was an amazing cook and a loving and wonderful wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She was kind, gracious, thoughtful and above all grateful for the opportunities she was given and for everyone who helped her in any way. When she said “thank you” she looked you in the eyes, because she meant it.

Preceded in death by her parents, her husband of 72 years, Donald, sons Drew and Lee Swanson and daughter Chris Zerby; sister-in-laws Jean (Herbert) McFarlane, Charlotte Amann, Doris and Dorothy Swanson; niece Patti Botes and nephew Jeff McFarlane; aunts Elenore (Pete) Mikkelsen and Norma (Ben) Breyen, cousins Donovan Mickelsen, Yvonne (Oscar) Ringgold and Bertha Ann Landrum. 

Survived by daughters, Cheryl (Daniel) Fitzgerald and Jo (Bob Calton) Swanson; son Kent (JoAnn Peters) Swanson; grandchildren Sean (Kim Good) Fitzgerald and Zack DeLuca; great-grandchildren Livia, William, Jack and Gwendolyn Fitzgerald, and Hadley Aponte-Good; nephew Stuart Amann; cousins Tom Weisbrod, Kris Ringgold, Holly (Manuel) Lozada, Rolf (Anne) Ringgold and Bernard (Doty) Breyen, Jr.

Wildie suffered with Alzheimer’s disease for the last eighteen years of her life. Her family is indebted to an extraordinary team of caregivers who treated her with such love, respect and dignity. We will remain forever grateful for the comfort, joy and laughter you brought to her life, when she needed it most.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Nature Conservancy ( or the Alzheimer’s Association (

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Wildie Jeanette (Greenwood) Swanson, please visit our floral store.

Memorial Tree
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