Rica Niemi Swanson


Posted: Thursday, October 06, 2005

Longtime Alaskan and former Juneau resident Rica Niemi Swanson, 100, died Sept. 13, 2005, at Central Peninsula General Hospital in Soldotna.

She was born Feb. 21, 1905 in Finland. In 1908, she moved to Juneau. She graduated from Douglas High School and the Bellingham Normal School. She moved to Wasilla in the early 1930s and taught school in Tanana and Wasilla from 1927 to 1933. She moved to Anchorage in 1936 and worked for Northern Commercial Co. from 1951 and retired in 1957. She moved to Kenai in 1971 and returned to Anchorage in 1995.

She was a member of Peninsula Grace Brethren Church in Soldotna, Order of the Eastern Star and Pioneers of Alaska. She was also a founding member of the Anchorage Symphony. She played music for silent films on the steamship lines.

She enjoyed music, family gatherings, gardening, knitting, crosswords, brain teasers and traveling.

Her family says that "her death marks the end of an era for gracious and proper living. She was a lady in the truest sense of the word."

She was preceded in death by her husband of 67 years, Frank Y. Swanson; her brothers, Tick and John Niemi; and her sisters, Aileen Meggitt and Helene Niemi.

She is survived by her daughters, Aileen Herring and Elizabeth Swanson, both of Anchorage; her sons, Frank D. Swanson of Wasilla and Richard D. Swanson of Soldotna; 15 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews including Judy Ripley, Karl and Jerry Niemi of Juneau and John Niemi of Douglas.

Memorial services were 11 a.m., Sept. 17, at Sand Lake Baptist Church in Anchorage.

Memorial donations may be made in her name to the Anchorage Symphony, 400 D St., Suite 230, Anchorage, 99501 or Peninsula Grace Brethren Church, 44175 K-Beach Road, Soldotna, 99669.

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