Jeanne Marie Swan Garnett, age 97, completed her life’s journey on Nov 12, 2020 in her home filled with the love of her family. Jeanne was born on April 14, 1923 in Marion, Ohio to Alfred W. Swan and Eva Castner Swan. She spent her early years in Greeley, Colorado before arriving in Madison at the age of 7 in 1930.
She attended Randall School and West High School where she met the love of her life, Gordon Martin Garnett. After graduation in 1940, she attended the College of Wooster and graduated in 1945 with a double major in Latin and Psychology. There was always a special spot in her heart for her alma mater and had looked forward to her 75th class reunion this past summer. She served as class secretary until the time of her death. On July 7, 1945 she and Gordon wed, and they enjoyed 64 years of marriage. Together they raised 8 children. With firm but loving guidance, she instilled the values of compassion for those less fortunate and responsibility to your community and family. She was a kind and generous soul, who always saw the potential and good in people.
She was a lifelong learner. As an adult student at UW Madison, she took every Swedish and Scandinavian studies course offered, as well as Russian literature and Russian history. She attended The Madison Literary Club, The History Round Table, and Plato until Covid came upon the scene. She and Gordon enjoyed traveling throughout the world, not just to see the sights, but to learn about the culture and people. Her kitchen “Command Station” frequently had a vase of dahlias, which reminded her of her beloved husband Gordon. From her “post” she enjoyed watching Gordon tend to his orchids in the green house, always documenting the blooms with her camera. She challenged her brainpower with crosswords, word puzzles, sudoku, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, and reading. She kept abreast of current events and believed that we all had the ability to impact our world with involvement in the political process. She could be found protesting for peace and civil rights on the Capital Square into her last decade. She was an active genealogist and followed her research clues on her travels all over the world. Even at the age of 97, she could be found at her computer going over family history.
Jeanne was a skilled seamstress, sewing late into the night to produce dresses and Christmas doll clothes. She enjoyed all kinds of handcrafts and had a true talent for knitting and weaving. Jeanne was rarely seen without a camera. She had a passion for photography, particularly taking pictures of people.
Although she had the worst hand-eye coordination and couldn’t catch a dinner roll if her life depended on it, she enjoyed skiing until the age of 79. She was an amazing sports fan and a huge Badger fan, having attended her first Badger football game at the age of 7. Ten decades later, she was still watching and cheering on Wisconsin. She loved watching basketball, hockey, golf, tennis, and football. If she wasn’t watching the news, she was watching a game.
Jeanne was a member of P.E.O. Chapter V sisterhood, a philanthropic organization that promotes and supports education and advancement of women. Jeanne cherished the comradery of her fellow sisters.
Jeanne and Gordon were charter members of Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ. Their living room served as the first sanctuary with the TV serving as the pulpit. The church community was an important cornerstone of her life. She remained an active member of the congregation throughout her life and enjoyed the “Over 50 Club.”
After retirement, the rock-bound coast of Maine, lobster and blueberries lured Jeanne and Gordon each summer to Roque Bluff, Maine. There together they built a retirement home with Jeanne cutting the boards and Gordon pounding a hammer. A piece of their heart belongs to Maine.
Nothing was more important to Mom than her family. Family was the true center of her universe. At family gatherings, she would sit at the foot of the table and while the family enjoyed her famous butterhorn rolls, she would bask in the love that surrounded her. Nothing filled her heart more or brought her more happiness. She was the first to wish every family member a happy birthday and anniversary with a 7 AM phone call.
After 97 years of bringing beauty to this earth, we say goodbye to our family matriarch. She will be greatly missed by those who she left behind. Her 8 children: Greg (Cindy) Garnett, Barbara (Mark) Folco, Jim (Kate) Garnett, Harold (Kay) Garnett, Liz Garnett, Ginny Wintersteen, Charlie (Pam) Garnett, and John (Mary Lou) Garnett. Her 21 grandchildren: Carrie Garnett, Scott (Krissy) Garnett, Matthew (Ruth Howlin) Folco, Nathaniel (Elizabeth) Folco, Andrew (Theresa) Garnett, Eric (Tracy) Garnett, Emile (Hanneke Blanksma) Kerver, Simone (Galaye Faye) Kerver, Eva (Loklan) Wintersteen Sherrington, Kielty Wintersteen, Brad (Dia Das) Wintersteen, Reid (Laura) Wintersteen, Greta Wintersteen, Evan Wintersteen, Brian (Erin) Garnett, Rachel (Patrick Jolly) Garnett, Colin Garnett, Jenna (Matthew) McCasland, Mitch (Kelly) Garnett, Joe Garnett, and Christina Garnett. Her 26 great-grandchildren are: Giovanni Grzelak, Tim Garnett, Lucas Folco, Giada Grzelak, Britta Kerver, Milla Grzelak, Emily Folco, Dan Garnett, Marijn Kerver, Sophia Folco, Tazia Grzelak, Mary Garnett, Killian Folco, Lenne Kerver, Jessica Folco, Joel Garnett, Owen Garnett, Levi Garnett, Fionn Folco, Camille McCasland, Mame Diarra Faye, Isaiah Garnett, Julianne Garnett, Oisin Folco, Alexander Garnett, Theodore McCasland, and special Swedish son, Sven Sporre. Jeanne was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Gordon Martin Garnett.
A Celebration of Life will be scheduled in the future.
The family would like to thank Cherie Olsen for her special friendship and appreciates Agrace Hospice and Brightstar for their kind assistance.
Memorials can be directed to PEO Chapter V, 3125 Harlan Circle, Fitchburg, Wi 53711 or to the Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ, 1501 Gilbert Road, Madison, WI. 53711