Jack (Jonathan) Edwards Swanson

September  1st, 1940 April  4th, 2024
Elgin IL
Jack (Jonathan) Edwards Swanson

Those we love don't go away, they walk beside us every day.


Jonathan (Jack) E. Swanson, a cherished husband, father, grandfather, and friend, passed away on April 4, 2024 in Geneva, Illinois at the age of 83. Born on September 1, 1940 in Mount Vernon, Washington to Miriam and Everett Swanson (both deceased), Jack's life was a testament to his resilience, kindness, patience, and unwavering dedication to his family. 

Jack grew up in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago, the son of a Baptist minister, alongside his two brothers, David and Paul, as well as his sister, Sharon. He pursued higher education at the University of Illinois and North Park College, then later earned his Master's Degree in Business Administration from Roosevelt University in Chicago in 1979. His academic achievements paved the way for a long and distinguished career as the Associate Superintendent for Business at High School District 214, where he was known for his fairness, integrity, and a dry Swedish sense of humor that endeared him to his colleagues and friends alike.

Jack's military service in the Army at Fort Leonard Wood, MO, alongside his brothers Dave and later Paul, was a source of pride and camaraderie.

In 1968, Jack married the love of his life, Joanne, and together they built a family, welcoming their children, Tracy and David, and later their beloved grandchildren, Teagan (18), Shayla (15), and Nora (1). Jack's role as a family man was paramount. He was a responsible and caring provider who cherished moments of play and travel with his loved ones. He was always there to relax together in quiet times and knew when his strength and wisdom were needed in challenging times.

He had a passion for sports and outdoor activities all his life. He enjoyed playing ball sports of any kind. He joined his home-church leagues, playing basketball as well as Chicago 16-inch softball as pitcher into adult years. Bowling league filled in between outdoor sports seasons and he included Joanne with a gift of a bowling ball. Teammates and their families were great friends. Invited by his District 214 colleague, Jack Brooks, to play tennis after work, tennis became his #1 favorite sport, playing with friends and family into his 70’s. He replaced tennis with ping pong in the winter and in both displayed a mastery of the slice shot and a competitive spirit that included more than a bit of playful trash talk, often referring to himself as "The Kid" when he was on a hot streak. A ping pong table in the basement was always a must. He was especially proud of teaching his first granddaughter, Teagan, how to play at a young age. He was pleased with her expertise but not so happy when she finally occasionally beat him.

Outside of sports, Jack had a love for anything with wheels and a motor, especially electric. He enjoyed collecting and riding bikes, scooters, and motorcycles (mostly to the tennis court).

Despite facing daily severe headaches that led to many years of unsuccessful pain management beginning soon after retirement, Jack's spirit remained unbroken. He continued to make time for family gatherings, especially if tennis or pingpong were involved. Jack identified his own memory challenges in 2015 and pursued testing and receiving care from a specialist. Even as early stages of Alzheimer's began in 2018, Jack remained active and engaged, meticulously supported at home by his wife Joanne, a retired RN. As Alzheimer’s progressed, his doctors recommended home health support. Jack enjoyed care by several creative and energetic CNAs who engaged him in long walks around the neighborhood, games, puzzles, reading etc. Jack enjoyed reading the newspaper and would read it out loud to them, especially the sports page. Not one of their favorite activities. As Alzheimer’s progressed, his care became more complex, and it was necessary to seek services at an assisted living Memory Care facility where professional staff were available 24 hours a day. Activities and events for residents were planned daily and provided by staff experienced in Memory Care. Jack entered in December 2022 and Joanne went daily to participate in his care along with his team of caregivers, nurses, therapists and doctors.

In March 2024, Jack became seriously ill and was hospitalized. He seemed to be responding to some of the treatment, but his Alzheimer’s complicated any complete recovery. He was discharged in just over 2 weeks back to his Memory Care facility under Hospice. Joanne remained with him sleeping on a cot in his room. Jack was strong and stoically accepted care to make him as comfortable as possible. Eight days later, he went home to be with our Lord in the evening of April 4th.

Jack is survived by his loving wife, Joanne; children, Tracy (Ross Ricci) and David (Katie Swanson); grandchildren, Teagan, Shayla and Nora; siblings, Dave Swanson and Sharon Hoffman;  extended family and circle of friends. He was preceded in death by his brother, Paul Swanson, to whom he had donated a kidney many decades ago.

We will deeply miss him and hold onto the thoughts of who he was: someone who enjoyed family walks and always brought a ball to play with, who delighted in surprising his wife, children, and grandchildren with poke-in-the-ribs sneak tickle attacks, who enjoyed hiding behind a corner to elicit a jump scare and was prepared to suffer the consequences, who possessed a quiet side yet could captivate with conversation when you needed it, and who will forever be remembered as a devoted, handsome husband, a fun and supportive dad, and a perfectly playful grandpa.


September 1st
Mount Vernon, Washington
Enlisted in army Reserves
Fort Leonard Wood, MO
February 3rd
to Joanne Saunders his life long love
Grand Blanc, Michigan
January 20th
Birth of Daughter Tracy
First born child
Oak Park, IL
October 10th
Favorite Son (David) Born
2nd born child
Oak Park, IL
Masters Degree
While working For IL District 214
Roosevelt University, Chicago
Illinois Township High School District 214
Arlington Heights, IL


Memory wall

Post your condolences or share your Memories.

July 10, 2024
Hi Joann, I learned more about Jack through this memorial. For that, thank you.
When I met you both I first noticed the love you both shared, especially when you looked into each other's eyes. The second thing was the great care you gave your husband. Thank you for the beautiful example of a loving couple.
Caregiver Kathi
Kathi Bolden
July 7, 2024
Dear Joanne, I just became aware if your dear Jack's passing. Am thinking of you and your family. The pictures of your family posted here are really wonderful. Take good care of yourself,
Nancy LaCursia
July 6, 2024
My heart was grieved to hear of Uncle Jack's passing, but so relieved to hear he's no longer in pain, running the streets of Glory. I have many memories of Uncle Jack, though many may be intertwined with Auntie Jo. My first memory is of the silver dollars he'd hand out on my birthday. He never forgot! He certainly had a "dry Swedish sense of humor" and was always kind to me. I remember he and Auntie Jo gave us our first pair of gerbils, which bred like crazy! And that wheel which drove all of us crazy during the night. :) I love Uncle Jack and look forward to visiting him again one day.
Jennifer Ronne Stewart
July 6, 2024
Joanne , and David ,
We were so sorry to hear of Jack's passing. So very grateful to call you our friends. We do still believe our Scott developed his love for tennis due to Jack.
Our Sincere Condolence to you all.
Rick and Judy
Rick and Judy Kolasa
July 5, 2024
Oh Joanne,I have tried different ways to get a hold of you over the years with no avail. Now to hear the sad news of Jack's passing. I know how tight you two were and how much love there was between you. I also read that it was not easy these last few years. But Jack was a trooper and I could see you right by his side. How lucky to have a top RN looking after your care. Be well. Love Ellen
Ellen Zemel
June 13, 2024
I would tell you my thoughts
By: Shayla Ricci, Granddaughter
Written: Age 12, in 2022

I would tell you my thoughts
I would tell you how I feel
But not even I know
No one knows
When you have no experience
As everyone starts out with
No experience
No knowledge
You have nothing
You learn from around you
You learn what you should and should not want
And should and should not do
Everyone tells you
Everyone tells you
Everyone tells you the way you should live your life
But the people around you change
Different people
Different ways
You learn
That's what you do
But in the end
It doesn't matter
You live
That’s what’s good about it
You have time
You have time
But when you’re done
When you have less time
You've used your time
You've used it well
But no one is ready to leave
No one is ready for you to leave
But piece by piece
You do
You lose things
They get lost
Why can’t you lose them all at the same time
Where do they go
We don't know
But they start to scatter
And they start to shred
You lose stuff
They disappear
One by one
Not all at once
The pain is hard either way
It does hurt the same
It just lasts longer when you lose them
One by one
One by one
Until you start to fade
You´re there
But you aren't
You´ve left but you’re still here
Why are you still here
I know that sounds bad
But it's just a reminder
When you’re here
That you aren't here
You lose stuff
You lost stuff
They keep on fading
What is stuff
What you know as
Is that also gone
You lost your knowledge
You lost your experience
You lost your knowledge
You lost your stuff
The stuff you've earned
You lost
Why are you here
You don't have the stuff that you've earned with
your time any longer
But you have me
You have us
You have the people
The people you've earned with your time
That's what you have
That’s what will never disappear
one by one
They might change
They might switch
But at this point in your time
We stay

I found your stuff
I know what you’ve lost
I found your stuff but it’s just out of reach
At least we know what stuff you have lost
You lost
Again where did you go
You lost
You lost
Your personality
You lost your ability
You lost your memories
You lost your knowledge
You lost your experience
You lost your knowledge
you lost your stuff
Why have you lost it
You lost your stuff but you haven't lost your person
You've lost yourself but you haven't lost your
We've lost you but we haven't lost your person
Your person is just a reminder of you that has been

It is you that has been lost
Not your person
But we don't want your person
We want you
Of course we can't have you without your person
But we see your person
And you are nowhere in sight
We've lost you
Where are you
Why are you lost
When will you come back
Come back

Grandpa, come back

This demon called All Timers (Alzheimer’s)
It’s different then just losing your memory
That’s how it’s been described to me
But I still don't understand
Though we haven't lost you yet
You lost you
Come back

Jonathan (Jack) Swanson is Shayla’s Grandpa.
Before he lost himself to Alzheimer’s,
Jack reassured Joanne of his faith in Jesus Christ,
his Savior.
John 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave his only
begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall
not perish but have EVERLASTING LIFE.
On Thursday, April 4, 2024 at 7:53PM angels
escorted Jack to Heaven.
Jack, Dad, Grandpa, you’re BACK!
You FOUND YOU again!
...in heaven with Jesus.
Shayla Ricci/Joanne Swanson
May 24, 2024
This is my favorite picture of Juni and Dad. She always knew where to find him and would say a quick hello when we showed up unannounced, our preferred type of visit. July 28,2018
David Swanson
May 24, 2024
Just a Sunday afternoon trip to the tennis court with a rare visit to the pool afterwards to cool off and play with the kids. This was less than a month from his 79th bday and his slice shot was still on point. August 11, 2019
David Swanson

Family tree

Miriam Edwards
Everett Swanson
Joanne Swanson
Dave Swanson
Paul Swanson
David Swanson
Tracy Ricci
Sharon Hoffman
Dave Swanson
Paul Swanson
Sharon Hoffman
Joanne Swanson
David Swanson
Tracy Ricci
Jack Swanson


What was Jack's favorite Travel destination?
Anywhere with a tennis court...
What was Jack's favorite Drink?
Diet Dr. Pepper or Milk depending on the time of day
What was Jack's favorite Sport?
Tennis followed closely by pingpong 
What was Jack's favorite Movie?
Some Like It Hot or The Great Escape
What was Jack's favorite Sports Team?
Roger Federer
What was Jack's favorite Quote or Saying?
I brought you into this world... I can take you out.
What was Jack's favorite Food or Dish?
Ham and Scalloped Potatoes and Cookies
What was Jack's favorite Game to play?
What was Jack's favorite Color?
Maybe green because he was a CFO...


A private memorial service for immediate family was held on May 29th 2024 to celebrate Jack's life and legacy.
Memory Gardens
Arlington Heights, IL


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In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to www.brightfocus.org/stopAD (Alzheimer's Research Foundation) or to the charity organization founded by Jack's father, Everett Swanson, at www.compassion.com/jonathanjackswanson (Please disregard the Compassion suggested donation)

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