Rica Niemi Swanson


Posted: Thursday, September 15, 2005




Longtime Alaskan and Anchorage resident Rica Niemi Swanson died Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2005, at Central Peninsula General Hospital in Soldotna. She was 100.

Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, at Sand Lake Baptist Church, 7434 Jewel Lake Rd., Anchorage. Pastor Chuck Thornton will officiate. A reception will follow the service.

Mrs. Swanson was born Feb. 21, 1905 in Finland. She moved to Alaska in 1908. She graduated from Douglas High School and also the Bellingham Normal School. She moved to Wasilla in the early 1930s and taught school in Tanana and Wasilla from 1927 to 1933. She moved to Anchorage in 1936 and worked for Northern Commercial Co. from 1951 and retired in 1957. She moved to Kenai in 1971 and returned to Anchorage in 1995.

Mrs. Swanson attended Peninsula Grace Brethren Church in Soldotna, Order of the Eastern Star, and Pioneers of Alaska. She was also a founding member of the Anchorage Symphony and enjoyed music, family get-togethers, gardening, knitting, crosswords, brain teasers and traveling.

"Mother was born in Finland and along with her younger brother and mother went by boat from Helsinki to Southampton, England on to New York. They then traveled by train to Seattle and by boat to Juneau. She formed an early love of music and she played for silent films, on the steamship lines and in symphonies. Mother taught school for eight years before marrying.

"Rica was an accomplished musician, loving wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She leaves a big void in all our lives. Her death marks the end of an era for gracious and proper living. She was a lady in the truest sense of the word," her family said.

Mrs. Swanson was preceded in death by her husband of 67 years, Frank Y. Swanson; brothers, Tick and John Niemi; and sisters, Aileen Meggitt and Helene Niemi. She is survived by her daughters, Aileen Herring and Elizabeth Swanson, both of Anchorage; sons, Frank D. Swanson of Wasilla and Richard D. Swanson of Soldotna; 15 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be sent in Mrs. Swanson's name to the Anchorage Symphony, 400 D Street, Ste. 230, Anchorage, AK 99501 or Peninsula Grace Brethren Church, 44175 K-Beach Rd., Soldotna, AK 99669.

Arrangements were made by Peninsula Memorial Chapel in Kenai.

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