Kathryn Jean (Kathy) Swenson, 70 years of age and formerly of Sheyenne, ND, passed over in her sleep on June 11, 2022, at her home in Langley, Washington.
Kathy was born to Sherman and Shirley Westby on August 4, 1951, the first child of the family. Her siblings, Steve, Neil, Paula and Ross are younger. Even in Kathy’s early years in Sheyenne, North Dakota, she showed a passion for decorating the world around her, making life more beautiful with visual expressions of the love that filled her heart. Kathy attended school in Sheyenne for most of her education, graduating from High School in 1969. Kathy continued her education in business and accounting at Lake Region Junior College in Devils Lake, ND. After college, Kathy took a job with beneficial Finance in Devils Lake and was working there when she met Larry Swenson, the man she would marry, in the spring of 1970. After a year’s courtship, the last few months long distance as Larry had moved to take a job in Seattle, Larry and Kathy were married in Sheyenne, ND on July 30, 1971. The happy couple moved to Seattle immediately. Her sadness at leaving family in North Dakota was tempered by being closer to her paternal grandparents in Burien, WA. Kathy had a job waiting when she arrived in Seattle as she had wisely arranged a transfer from the Beneficial Finance office in Devils Lake to one in Seattle. Kathy and Larry’s first child, Timothy, was born on June 7, 1974, and their second, Brent, was born on December 13, 1976. The family moved to five wooded acres on Whidbey Island in 1977. Kathy immediately set about beautifying the already lovely site by planting trees and flowering shrubs which are still blooming today. On Whidbey, Kathy found an accounting job and worked there until 1986 when she took a job at the Freeland, WA post office. Kathy remained as the friendliest and most helpful postal clerk ever until she retired in 2015. Her son Tim, married Nicole Migneault, on August 28, 1999, and over the course of the years Kathy’s beloved grandchildren, Elizabeth, Matthew, and Joseph arrived to fill her life with love and joy.
In addition to her career, Kathy kept a neat and tidy home as she raised her two sons, a feat some would declare impossible, but she accomplished it with ease and grace. Kathy also kept busy decorating her home, sewing, embroidery, gardening and raising flowers. After she retired from the post office, she was an enthusiastic volunteer at Habitat for Humanity. Kathy’s relationship with the Lord was very important to her and her favorite Bible verse tells us a lot about the woman she was. Micha 6:8 reads: “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” When she wasn’t planting, arranging flowers, sewing, or embroidering, Kathy enjoyed traveling and camping throughout God’s natural creation. Visiting with family and friends and doting on her beloved grandchildren were special highlights of her life.
In the fall of 2019, Kathy was diagnosed with breast cancer. She fought it valiantly, braving the hospitals alone for chemotherapy treatments while Larry was forced to wait in the car through the worst of the covid crisis. She emerged victorious and resumed her active life, traveling and visiting loved ones. The cancer returned in late 2021, and again, Kathy put up a good fight, but the battle ended on June 11, 2022, when she passed away in her sleep, at her own home, surrounded by loved ones.
Kathy is survived by her mother, Shirley Westby of Sheyenne, ND, her husband, Larry, and their children; Son, Timothy Swenson and his wife Nicole, of Olympia, WA, and their children Elizabeth, Matthew, and Joseph; Son, Brent Swenson of the family home in Langley, WA.
Kathy is also survived by her siblings: Brother, Steve Westby of rural Sheyenne and Superior, AZ; Brother, Neil Westby, his wife Laurie and their children: Mallory Westby of Bismarck; and Erin and her husband Paul Cochran of Grand Forks, ND and their daughter Sutton and Scott Westby of Moorhead, MN; Sister, Paula, and her husband Mark Seiler of New Rockford, ND, and their children: Derrick Seiler, his wife Courtney, their daughter, Willow; Jordan Seiler and his wife Ashley; Brother, Ross Westby, his wife Kristi of Phoenix, AX, their children: Tate and his wife Anna of Minneapolis, MN and their children, Camden and Lennon; and Keagan Westby of Phoenix, AZ. Kathy is also survived by many in-laws, cousins, nephews, and nieces all over the country. Kathy was preceded in death by her grandparents, and her father, Sherman Westby of Sheyenne, ND
Posted online on August 02, 2022
Published in Devils Lake Journal