Our loving mother, Barbara Lavon Bigelow Swanson, at the age of 82, passed away at her home on Jan. 1, 2018, from the effects of cancer. She was surrounded by her children.
Barbara was born Oct. 3, 1935, to William Levon and Sylvia Lavern (Hunt) Bigelow in Price, Utah. She was the second of five daughters. In 1940, the family moved from Green River, Utah, to Ely, Nevada, where Barbara gained not only an education, but also a lifelong friend, Wanda Cummings.
Barbara was a gifted pianist with a flair for ragtime and big band music. By the age of 16, she was a member of the musician’s union in Nevada and was playing with local dance bands. Friends and family have said that anytime Barbara began playing the piano, you couldn’t help but want to get up and start dancing, or at least start tapping your toe to the catchy rhythms. In school, Barbara played the alto saxophone, and after graduation decided to learn to play the accordion, which she did. She played beautifully.
Barbara graduated from White Pine High School in Ely in 1953. She and her family then moved back to Green River where she met and later married Leland “Lee” Sherman Swanson on Aug. 27, 1954. After raising their three children in Green River, and then Moab, Utah, Lee and Barbara eventually moved their family to St. George, Utah, in 1971.
Barbara had a talent for making any guest feel welcome in her home. She was the perfect hostess. An avid reader, Barbara could often be found absorbed in a good book, and there would always be a book lying on the table near her favorite chair. Barbara also enjoyed geology and nature. She hiked often in the beautiful St. George hills several times a week for years.
Barbara is survived by her children, all of whom currently live in Utah; Gale (Susan) Swanson of St. George; Vonae (Scott) Thorell of West Jordan; and Sonja Swanson of St. George. Barbara is also survived by two beloved sisters, Billie Mae (David) Olney of Sandy; Betty (Layne) Harward of Farmington; and by a step-daughter-in-law, Eileen (Mike) Swanson of Missouri. Barbara leaves behind her cherished nine grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and four step-grandchildren. She also leaves behind several dear nieces and nephews.
- A viewing will be held on Thursday, Jan. 11, from 3-4:30 p.m. at Pine View Mortuary, 566 N. Mall Drive, St. George.
- Funeral services will be in Green River on Saturday, Jan. 13, at noon in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints building located at 95 N. Clark St, Green River. A viewing will be held at the church from 10:30-11:30 a.m.
- Interment will be in the Elgin Cemetery in Green River.
Arrangements entrusted to the care of Pine View Mortuary, 435-986-4222.
For condolences, full obituary and funeral listings please visit Pine View Mortuary online.