Rica 'Niemi' Swanson celebrates her first century


Posted: Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Former Douglas resident Rica "Niemi" Swanson celebrated her 100th birthday on Feb. 5, 2005, at the home of her daughter, Aileen Herring, in Anchorage.

Rica was born to Kaarlo and Ida Kiviniemi in 1905 in Finland. She moved with her family in 1908 to Douglas. She graduated from Douglas High School in 1924 and Washington's Teacher's College in 1927.

She played violin in the summers working as a musical accompanist for silent movies at the Palace Theatre (later the Capital Theatre and Baranof Book Shop). Rica was a founding member of the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra. She has worked as a teacher in Wasilla, Fort Gibbon and Haines.

She married Frank Swanson in 1933 in Anchorage. Her teaching career ended with her marriage as the rule of the day required teachers to be single. The couple had four children. She has 15 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

She lives with her daughter and family in Anchorage. Her actual birthday is Feb. 21.

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