Elizabeth Anne Swanson - Morris Nilsen Funeral Chapel

May 10, 1934 - November 6, 2020

Elizabeth was born May 10, 1934, to Nora and Harold Mortensen in Minneapolis. She graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1952. She graduated from Augsburg College with a music education degree (organ performance), where her aunt, Gerda was Dean of Women. Her first job as organist was at Bethlehem Covenant Church in Minneapolis. There she met her husband, James Curtis Swanson who sang bass in the church choir. They were married on August 11, 1956. They bought their house in Richfield in 1958 and resided there until 1998. She had a daughter, Vicki Ann and son, Derrick James was born 18 months later. Elizabeth was a warm and loving mother, encouraging both her children to strive for a balance of academia and music/arts. Derrick played trumpet and Vicki, piano. She was a talented musician, sang alto in the church choir, both in Hackensack and in Naples, FL, where she spent winter months after Jim retired. Elizabeth taught both piano and organ and held recitals yearly. When Vicki graduated college they enjoyed playing piano and organ duets for special events, weddings, etc. Music was an integral part of Elizabeth's life and she chose to use God's gift to serve others in this way. Elizabeth was very socially connected in the community. She was on the board of Woodlake Nature Center and awarded the WCCO Good Neighbor of the Year award in 1994. Elizabeth was the backbone and ultimate organizer for Jim's campaign fundraisers and door knocking, literature drops, phone calls. As some joked, Elizabeth was the "true campaigner" and became President of the legislative spouses for the Rotunda Club. She had a green thumb and planted colorful gardens each year along the fence line of her house, and a plentiful garden including raspberries and strawberries making jam and pies. They bought land on Baby Lake in Hackensack, MN, and built a lake home equipped with a boathouse in the '70s. All summer, every weekend was spent at the cabin, planting geraniums, blueberry plants, pine trees, etc. Elizabeth loved sitting on the dock, going for sunset boat rides, and enjoying the nearby town activities of Hackensack and Longville. Hospitality was her gift and she loved entertaining and "dressing up" the table with fancy napkins, runners and making her guests feel welcome and special. Her trademark dishes were celery hot dish, goulash, oriental hot dish, fresh strawberry and peach open-faced pies, lemon chiffon cake with hot lemon sauce, and chocolate cake with penuche frosting. She had a very strong faith in Jesus, active in churches, praying daily, and always giving thanks to God. She is survived by husband, James; daughter, Vicki Swanson; grandchildren, James (Michelle) Swanson, Christine Swanson, Peter (Kayla) Swanson, and Alexander (Jocelyn) Kalal; great-grandchildren, Brody and Cora Swanson; daughter-in-law, Caroline Swanson; cousins, nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends. She was preceded in death by son, Derrick; parents, Harold and Nora (Gynild) Mortensen; sisters, Hildegard Strom and Mary Lou Nelson; aunts, Gerda and Ragna Mortensen.

Funeral Service Video

Memorials to Parkinson's Research Foundation.


  1. Gay Ann Christy says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time. May each of you find comfort in the promises of our amazing Lord. May he shower each of you with blessings of comfort and peace.

  2. ITW/EAE says:


    Our deepest sympathy to you and your family during this difficult time. Your Friends at ITW/EAE.

  3. Gary and Jacqueline Picone says:

    My condolences to the Swanson family . James ,Vicki Alex you bare in our prayers

  4. Christine Swanson says:

    My thoughts are with you. I’ll always remember Elizabeth at her best. Musical. Loving. Busy. Very, very smart. We were all fortunate to have her in our lives.

  5. Glenn & Denise Sonnee says:

    Our sincere sympathies to Vicki and family. May you find comfort in the many memories she gave you, and the knowledge she is in the arms of her Savior,

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