Jeanne Valerie Seland Swimme was born in Seattle on March 18, 1927 and died in West Seattle on September 25, 2022. In between, she loved the world, beginning with her families, expanding out to neighbors and parishioners at St Frances Cabrini Church, to her students at Puyallup High School, and finally to all nature.
After her wedding on July 26, 1947, she and her husband, Wayne Swimme, moved to Zillah, then Cashmere, before settling in Lakewood. As a mother, her primary aim was to awaken the same depth of kindness that characterized the life of her own mother, Gertrude Seland, and her brother, Stanley. This high valuation of kindness made it impossible for her to dishonor others. Nor would she listen to anyone expressing negative opinions about friends or relatives. Her wide intellectual interests stretched from theology to astrology to Mariology to world history. She was highly critical of social inequalities and worked to awaken a social conscience in her children that would lead to careers in public service, especially education and health. She read stories to them at bedtime to deepen their faith in life’s goodness. Over time, her children and her husband came to regard her as providing their clearest understanding of what it means to love.
Retired from teaching, she and Wayne moved to Harstine Island where she raised a vegetable garden. Continuing her lifelong concern for justice, she wrote letters to the editors of local newspapers with blistering critiques of corporate greed and its consequent ecosystem destruction. For each of the birthdays of her children, their spouses-in-law, and her grandchildren, she constructed stories illustrated with photographs that captured some essential quality of each of them in turn. In the peace of southern Puget Sound, she wrote and published the story of her life, All is Grace.
She is survived by her daughters Leslie Perry (Steve, d. 2018) and Jeannette Watts (Gary), her son Brian Thomas (Denise), her nephew Ken Seland (Jan), her grandsons Charlie Perry (Kristi), Ryan Perry (Stacey), Thomas Swimme (Allison), Brian Sebastian Swimme (Megan), and her great grandchildren Jackson, Elin, Haas, Felton, Kate, Ryan, Beau, and Waylon. All of us have had our lives shaped in various ways by her love, her dedication, and her devotion. Please share your memories and photos in Jeanne’s guest book at www.islandfuneralservice.com.
There will be a funeral mass on February 25th at 11 am at St. John Vianney’s Catholic church on Vashon Island, Washington.