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JOANNE SITTIG SWANSON ~ Class of 1965
April 15, 1947 - October 6, 2004
On Wednesday, October 6th, Joanne died at her home in the woods. Born on April 15, 1947
in Richland, WA, Joanne grew up in a loving family with her parents Howard and Rosemary
and her two sisters Kay and Susan in the family home overlooking the Columbia River.
Joanne married Richard Swanson ('64) in April of 1971. They moved to the Olympia area in
1972 where their son Scott was born. Richard and Scott were her two greatest loves. From
the time Joanne set foot on Olympia soil, she made friends quickly. Everyone who met her
believed that they were her best friend—and in Joanne’s eyes, they were! Her quick wit,
her laughter and her creativity along with her passionate love for children will always
mark our memories of her. Joanne loved music, knitting, funny movies, game playing, late
nights and everything about Italy. And we all loved Joanne.
Joanne had several different jobs in her life but mostly, she will be remembered as
“Teacher”. Joanne founded Sacred Heart Preschool in Lacey and nurtured hundreds of
young children who will never forget her presence in their lives. With unconditional
love, a sense of wonder and incredible joy, Joanne filled children’s hearts with hope
Joanne was preceded in death by her parents Howard and Rosemary Sittig, and is survived by
her devoted husband Richard and her adored son Scott. Her spirit will forever remain in the
hearts of her sisters, Kay Sittig Wolf ('63) (Gary) and Susan Sittig-Bean ('71) (Rob), her
other “sisters”, Leslie Swanson Holeman ('59) (Ron ('56)) and Darlene Swanson Merrill ('70)
(Dave ('70)), her “adopted” Italian son Giovanni Bennati and the Bennati family, and numerous
nieces, nephews, godchildren, and all the children she taught in preschool. Her special
friends Diane Koval, Maddy de Give, Patty Koval and their husbands and children will miss her
Special Thanks to Teresa, Paul, Cindy, Diana, Dan, Aimie, Neddie and all of her care givers
for their care and compassion.
A memorial mass celebrating her life will be held at Sacred Heart Church at 812 Bowker Street
in Lacey, WA on Wednesday, October 13th at 10:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family is
requesting that donations be made to a scholarship fund for children attending the preschool
at Sacred Heart Church.