Our gracious matriarch, surrounded by her loving family and friends, has gone to heaven to be with her Lord and many departed family members. Swanee was born on January 31, 1919, in Ft. Dauphin, Madagascar, to missionary parents - Rev. Svein Stefen Tverberg and Stine Elise (Haaland) Tverberg - who raised Swanee and her five siblings Elisabeth, Borghild, Dr. Miltzo, Dagny and Dr. Luther Tverberg in a strong, loving family with their faith in God as the cornerstone of their lives. Swanee's father, her husband of 61 years Conrad M. Thompson, her sons Mervin, Mark and Nathan and now, her grandson Zachary all either were or are Lutheran pastors. Swanee died of a stroke Sunday evening, December 15. A memorial service will be held at 1:30 pm on Saturday, February 1 - the day after her 95th birthday - in the Lyngblomsten Chapel, 1415 Almond Avenue St. Paul, MN 55108. After Swanee graduated from St. Olaf College, and married Conrad, she began the work of raising four children, managing a full household and contributing within the community. Conrad credited her vital role at home as the foundation for his ministry within the church. She served as the 4-H leader for her daughter Beverly, and taught Sunday School at St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church. Swanee and Conrad made their home an inviting, nurturing place for their family and friends anchored by daily family dinners and filled with music. Together, in their mid-20s, Swanee wrote the words and Connie, the music for the choral piece "Christmas Lullaby" - still sung today. She extended her practice of hospitality through her work of welcoming visitors to the Chapel in the Hills in Rapid City, SD. Swanee invested many hours in her Norwegian embroidery Hardanger-Som, earning purple ribbons at the Minnesota State Fair and teaching the beautiful craft in Burnsville, MN, and in Mesa, AZ, where she and Connie spent winter months post-retirement amongst many long-time and new friends. Prior to their years of wintering in Mesa, they traveled across the U.S., on behalf of the radio ministry Lutheran Vespers, and led tours to Scandinavia, Israel-Palestine, New Zealand and Australia. Eleven years ago, she decided to move to Lyngblomsten near Como Park in St. Paul. For 10 years, she lived independently surrounded by all things Malagasy and Norwegian, and later, moved to the Care Center's Dorothea Neighborhood. As she lay dying, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren appreciated wonderful tributes from visiting friends and staff. We will be eternally grateful to terrific staff and care givers, especially to Marcy Frye, who gave her so much love. Her mind was clear until the end, and what a gift that was. She was "Clearing House Central" for our entire family. She was a voracious reader who loved keeping up with the news of the world. As her body grew weaker, she said that as long as she could still read she was all right. Swanee will be terribly missed by her children - Mervin (Jackie Morstad) Thompson, Beverly (Roe) Hatlen, Mark (Marjore Williams) Thompson and Nathan (Kim Morris) Thompson; by her 10 grandchildren - Deanna and Noel Thompson; Kari, Erik and Lars Hatlen; Chris Thompson and Kinue; and Zachary, Karis (Matt) and Isaac (Tonya) Thompson; by her 19 great-grandchildren - Deanna Thompson's & Neal Peterson's Linnea and Annika; Noel & Ann Thompson's Suriya, Evan and Ethan; Kari & Jay Aiken's Logan, Bailey, Ilse and Ingrid; Chris & Melissa Thompson's Kate, Lauren, Will and Owen; Kinue's & Jordan Fowler's Jude, Kaden, Aza Swan and Addison; and Zachary & Lexi Thompson's Soren and Elise; and by her sister Dagny Lerseth, and sisters-in-law Laurie Tverberg and Donna Tverberg. The Tverberg/Thompson Family continues to help with the crucial work needed in Madagascar. If you would like to give a memorial, please address it to Global Health Ministries, c/o the Svein & Elise Tverberg Fund - AVIA, 7831 Hickory Street NE, Minneapolis, MN 55432. AVIA (Anosy Villages in Action) adheres to best practices for development initiatives and a broadened definition of health encompassing evangelism, education, clean water and sanitation, modern agricultural practices, traditional primary health services and access to credit through micro-lending programs. www.ghm.org
This Christmas season and onward, we will remember Swanee and the words of her favorite hymn - "Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand, I am tired, I am weak, I am worn. Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light, take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home."