Cover photo for Marcella E. Swanson's Obituary
Marcella E. Swanson Profile Photo
1925 Marcella 2022

Marcella E. Swanson

April 10, 1925 — December 30, 2022

Services and Interment for Marcella E. Swanson will be held privately.

Marcella (Schultz) Swanson was born on April 10, 1925, to Sara (Licht) Schultz and Benjamin Schultz.  Her younger sister was Dorothy (deceased), and older brother was Leonard (deceased).  Marcella studied and was a nurse’s aide during WWII and a photographer’s assistant, all before she married her husband, Raymond L. Swanson (deceased).  Their first date was on VE Day, and they were married on December 1, 1945.  Ray was an engineer working on “pilotless planes” during WWII and a successful engineer afterwards. They were both avid CUBS fans and saw the 1945 World Series – a standing room only ticket was $5.  She watched the 2016 CUBS World Series and couldn’t believe they finally won.

When she was first married, she could only cook “grilled steaks, open a can of tuna, and lamb chops”.  Ray sent her to cooking school briefly and she became an accomplished cook and hostess for many small and large parties throughout her life.  She always assigned a task to everyone, doled out “doggie bags” and clipped articles she thought you should read.

Carolyne Turner McPherson and Peggy Swanson Culbertson are her daughters.  They spent their early childhood in Chicago and in 1955 moved to Palatine (Schaumburg) to a home built by Ray and Marcella. She lived in this home for over 50 years before moving to assisted living (The Moorings) in 2017.

Both her daughters were married in Aspen Colorado.  Marcella and Ray spent many fall weeks in Colorado enjoying the mountains with Peggy, her husband Rob, and golfing with Carolyne and her husband Daryl.  Later they enjoyed their 50th Wedding Anniversary in Maui with their daughters and spouses.

Marcella worked at the University of Illinois Extension Service for over 25 years.  She started out as the person to call with questions – an early Mrs. Google, often regaling us with funny questions asked of her (How do I dry out my Will? I stored it in the refrigerator.).   She took the train to work every day and read the Wall Street Journal and the Chicago Tribune on her trips.  Marcella became the Office Manager and even learned/taught DB2 – an early computer data base software package.  On Fridays she went to the Beauty salon, arriving early with homemade scones to have coffee with her friends and catch up on the latest news.

Marcella was active in the church, was a Poll Watcher, and won a best pie contest with her peach pie. She was an avid reader – particularly mysteries and historical biographies.  She loved the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the piano, Christmas pageantry and wrapping presents, shopping, and walking.  She would walk 2-4 miles a day and could outrun anyone, all the while wearing high heels.  On weekends she and Ray, would play golf with Carolyne and Daryl, and of course go out for dinner – her favorite pastime.  Her advice was “if anyone calls you to go out to dinner, drop everything and go”.

Marcella is survived by many nephews, nieces, cousins, grandchildren and great grandchildren.  Heinz and Gretchen Breit were Ray and Marcella’s best friends, weekly dinner companions, and traveling couple.  They went to Europe and the Caribbean many times, always coming back with funny tales and good memories.  Her friends were all important to her and they spanned all age groups.  Marcella was ready to hop on a plane and travel to Colorado, South Carolina, Florida, Arizona – her wheelchair was just an inconvenience at 94 but didn’t stop her trips or activities.  She was fiercely determined, positive, and self-sufficient.

At 96 Marcella moved to Denver near her daughter Peggy.  She died December 30, 2022, peacefully, in no pain with dignity and grace.  We believe she was met in heaven by Ray, her sister Dorothy, and her friends, with her son-in-law Daryl asking her if she “brought the brisket”.  We’re sure Marcella is smiling down on us telling us to go out and live our lives to the fullest.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Marcella E. Swanson, please visit our flower store.


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