Joann Rae Swanson

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  • "I am so very sorry to hear of Joann's passing. Our..."
    - Mary Brown
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September 22, 1928 ~ October 12, 2017

Joann Rae Swanson passed away peacefully at home in Vancouver, WA on October 12, 2017 as the result of an aggressive lymphoma. Joann was born in Everett, WA on September 22, 1928, the only child of Philip Raymond Chadbourne and Gladys May (Zbinden) Chadbourne. The family moved to Seattle, and in the mid 1930's moved to the Minterbrook Farm near Port Orchard, WA where she attended grade school and high school.
Joann received her BA in 1950 from WSU and was a member of Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority, as well as Treasurer of her Senior Class.
In 1949, she met the love of her life, Orin Swanson, who was a Veterinary student. They were married in 1950, and lived on campus until Orin received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1951. Following graduation, Joann and Orin moved to Vancouver, WA where Orin joined the practice of Vancouver Veterinary Hospital. Joann was active with several social clubs and sang with the Brahms' singers. Joann was dedicated to community service. The organization having the most influence in Joann's life was the nonpartisan League of Women Voters, of which she was a Lifetime Member. Her objective analytical skills and collaborative communication style were invaluable, and following the LWV's study of Clark County's planning and zoning program, she was invited to join the County Planning Commission. Joann was the first woman ever appointed as a Commissioner, and continued to serve on that Board for about 24 years. She worked hard to improve communications between citizens, developers, and regulatory agencies to ensure that all actions and projects were completely understood by all involved. During that time she was also appointed as a charter member of the new Clark County Parks Board, and remained an active member for 33 years, involved in many park acquisitions and activities. She also served on the Washington State Parks and Recreation Board. Working to improve WA State Parks was a passion she shared with her father Philip Chadbourne, who had also served on the State Board.
She was appointed to many local ad hoc committees and represented the County on the Environmental Task Force (nicknamed "The Sewer Ladies") and Vancouver Shorelines Study and resulting ordinances. She was chosen by the Columbian and Vancouver Mall as one of "Vancouver's Very Best" in 1994.
While always happy to serve on governmental committees, she made it clear that she would always be home in time to greet her two children when they arrived home from school. She was a loving Mother and incredible role model.
Joann loved family boating in the San Juan and Gulf Islands in the summer, and living in Kauai, HI for several weeks in the winter. She loved to play golf and was a longstanding member of the Green Meadows Golf Club. After Orin's retirement, they travelled together with friends and family to many wonderful places in the world, always thrilled to experience new worlds with her beloved spouse at her side. Photography was one of her favorite pastimes.
Joann is survived by her husband of 67 years, Dr. Orin Swanson; her daughter, Cynthia; son, Mark; and grandsons, Tim and Sean.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Nov. 18, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. at Club Green Meadows, 7703 NE 72nd Ave., Vancouver, WA 98661. (For info: [email protected])
Please sign her guest book at:
Published in The Columbian on Nov. 5, 2017
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