Cover photo for Joanie Swanson's Obituary
1938 Joanie 2021

Joanie Swanson

September 30, 1938 — January 14, 2021

Joanie A Swanson, born Mary Joan Atchison (82) passed away peacefully on January 14, 2021. Born on September 30, 1938, she is survived by her loving husband of 53 years, Gerry Swanson, her sons Kent R Swanson and Scott D Swanson, grandson Emiliano Swanson-Iglesias, brother Tom Atchison, and stepparents Edna and O’Neal Weigelt.

Joanie Swanson was an exceptionally caring and generous wife, mother, grandmother and friend. She instilled in her family and so many others a deep love and respect for other cultures and peoples. Originally from Austin Texas Joanie graduated from Southwestern University in 1960. Prior to moving to Albuquerque in 1968, she served as a teacher for the United Methodist Church in Cochabamba, Bolivia for three and a half years. Joanie later worked for the University of New Mexico's Latin American Studies Program for 26 years retiring in August 2005. There she fully expressed her passion for Latin America as an academic advisor and helped many students find their way through the challenges of college and life. In 1995, she received the coveted UNM Student Service Award.  During her time at UNM, she attended many of the same classes her students took particularly in Latin American Art History, Spanish Colonial Art, and Pre-Columbian Art.

She and her husband Gerry were avid collectors of folk art and contemporary art from New Mexico, Old Mexico, and around the world. In her later years she continued to travel the world, exploring as many as 36 countries with her traveling companion Gerry.

Joanie had an endless curiosity about the world and an enviable sense of adventure.  She was an international hiker, Nordic ski racer and long-distance bicyclist, and enjoyed whitewater canoeing and swimming, and even completed a triathlon. Joanie was a lover of wildlife and a passionate birdwatcher. She also loved cats, often taking in those that found their way to her door.

Throughout Joanie's life she demonstrated that community and family are the keys to living joyfully in the world.

Donations may be made in her name to the Animal Humane Association, the Open Space Alliance, Alley Cat Allies, and Friends of the Bosque del Apache. If donating by check, donors can identify Joanie in the memo line. If donating via the OSA website, donors can identify Joanie in the Notes section of the online form.’

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joanie Swanson, please visit our flower store.


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