Doris M. Swanson

Doris M. Swanson passed away peacefully early morning February 14, 2018 at Sacred Heart Hospital, surrounded by her family in the same room that she lost her husband Bud.  She was born on August 22, 1920 in Williston, ND, gaining family acclaim as the first of her family to be born in a “big city” hospital.  Music was her passion from an early age.  Her musical talents developed early and continued throughout her life.  As a child she took up the ukulele, trombone and her life long instrument, the piano.   Early on in her hometown of Kenmare, ND, and later at Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane, she took advantage of any musical opportunity offered and continued to do so throughout her life.

Dorie graduated from Washington State College with a degree in music and became a lifelong “Coug”!  She married her college sweetheart whom she lost six months later in WWII.  In 1945, while performing in Handel’s Messiah, she met her lifelong partner, Byron L. Swanson, whom she married in 1946. The two became a musical team, Byron as a Baritone with Dorie accompanying him on the piano, performing in Spokane and throughout the Northwest.

Ever civic- minded, Doris was a leader in various philanthropic organizations, including the Washington State Teachers organization, the American Guild of Organists, the Spokane Lutheran Choral Society, United Crusade, Friday Musical, Lutherhaven, the Spokane Civic Theater (pianist), Pi Phi, St. Mark’s Lutheran Circle and numerous responsibilities at Rockwood Retirement Center including founder and director of the magnificent Rubber Band Ensemble. She received her 70 year pin for active involvement in PEO.

Doris and Bud helped establish Ham on Regal at Ferris High School.  Dorie co-wrote scripts, danced, and accompanied as the solo musician on the piano.

Bud and Dorie were dedicated servants of their faith, spending their entire adult life volunteering at and attending St. Mark’s Lutheran Church.  The many pastors were like family.  Dorie served as organist for 37 years. 

Most important to Dorie was her family.  Every single member, down to the great grandchildren, believes they were her favorite.  Dorie leaves three children, Jan (Jack) Swanson Praxel, Don (Wendy) Swanson and Richard (Laurie) Downie, eleven grandchildren and fifteen great-grandchildren.  She was the heart of all family activity. The entire family sees her as one of the most influential people in their lives, describing her as loving soul, fort maker, adventure seeker and believing she has been recalled to heaven as an angel.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in memory of Doris Swanson.  

Visitation will be held at Hazen & Jaeger Funeral Home Gothic Chapel from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on Saturday, February 17th.

A memorial service will be held at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 24th & Grand at 2:00 pm on Sunday, February 18th.

Arrangements entrusted to Hazen & Jaeger Funeral Home, 1306 North Monroe Street in Spokane.