Swanson, Alice LaRoe 97

Our family matriarch, Alice Swanson, passed away on Sunday, January 21, 2024 in Cokato, MN. Alice was a rock of positivity, always seeing a half-full glass, even when it was nearly empty. Her life was a model of kindness and she showered her family with unconditional love and understanding.

Alice LaRoe Batcher was born to Ray and Tressie Batcher, on July 30, 1926, in Staples, MN. After graduating from high school, she studied nursing at Hamline College in St Paul. She was working as an x-ray technician when she met Gordon E. Swanson. They were married on September 11,1948. Alice had dreams of being a fashion designer in Paris but focused on designing a fabulous family. She and Gordy moved all the way out to Golden Valley, MN where they built a home and raised 9 children on some spit and love (Seriously, how did they manage?)

Alice was a mom and a damn good one (sorry for the profanity Mom, but the fact needs emphasis and an exclamation point was not enough.) She did things like pack extra food in Gordon’s lunchbox so he could share the leftovers with the kids when he got home from work. She never wanted the last piece of anything and always thought our ideas were excellent – even Wayne’s request for liver and onions which she cooked, even though she didn’t like it.

In the 80’s and 90’s, Alice and Gordy were able to travel in style thanks to LaRoe’s airline passes. They flew coast to coast, sometimes just going to the airport to see which flight they could grab. They enjoyed lunch in Toronto, foggy visits to Seattle, buffets in Las Vegas, cherry blossoms in DC and the beaches of Grand Cayman.

After the kids flew the nest, Alice and Gordon moved to a small town near Little Falls where they had a little house with a very welcoming garden and backyard. Alice’s birthday became a family holiday with all the kids and grandkids making the trip to Flensburg every July to celebrate with a picnic.

A move to Howard Lake in the 90’s meant they were closer to family. After Gordon’s health required a move to a long-term care facility, Alice moved into Brookridge Assisted Living in Cokato. Her sun filled little studio overlooked the golf course and was attached to Gordon’s facility, allowing her to walk over for visits and meals until he passed on December 24, 2016. The assisted living community became her home and her children are grateful for the care and comfort she received from the staff there.

Alice is survived by her 9 children, LaRoe Swanson (Bill Wolfe), Beverly Elmshauser, Becky Scharber (Richard), Wayne Swanson (Sylvia), Cindy Swanson (David Athey), Dale Swanson (Cheryl), Doug Swanson, Lyle Swanson, Lori Yerbich (Julian). Grandchildren Erik Elmshauser, Elyssa Wanek (Dave), Joe Scharber (Nicole), Jean Houston (Matt), Scott Athey (Sydney), Sam Athey (Megan), Greg Swanson (Amanda), Emmy Logeais (Mark), Nick Swanson (Stefanie), Allison Holthaus (Ben), Zach Swanson (Brittany), Jacob Swanson, Sydney Swanson, Matt Swanson, Amanda Kenney (John), Alex Yerbich (Grace Welton), Jai Yerbich, Sophia Yerbich. 28 great-grandchildren.

Alice is preceded in death by her husband Gordon E. Swanson, brother David L. Batcher, son-in-law Steven Elmshauser and daughter-in-law Lori Swanson.

Lately, Alice was very stressed about so many people hungry and without shelter and would love a tribute gift in her name to Second Harvest Heartland: https://www.2harvest.org/get-involved/donate-money/tribute-gift

A memorial for Alice will be held in the spring of 2024 at the First Presbyterian Church in Howard Lake with date and time to be announced.