CORVALLIS, Ore. - Barbara (Giffen) Swanberg, 77, formerly of Brainerd, died in Corvallis, Ore., on Saturday, May 2, 2009, with family by her side.
She was born on April 20, 1932, in Muncie, Ind., to parents Robert H. Leslie and Morna Jane (Green) Leslie. After graduating from Burris High School in Muncie, she attended and graduated from Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio, where she met and married Glenn Giffen. Most of their married life was spent in Eau Claire, Wis., with their three children.
Later in life she earned a second degree in medical technology from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. From there a new phase of her life started with a move to Brainerd, Minn., where she had a long tenure as a medical technician at St. Joseph's Medical Center. After living in Brainerd for a short time, she met and married Marlin Swanberg.
Together they saw great possibilities in an old farm property, bought it, then spent several years restoring it to a beautiful home. They loved to travel and to attend musical performances. They contributed many volunteer hours through the years to the North Central Bee Association. She also volunteered with a horseback-riding program for children with disabilities. She treasured everything about the natural world especially the animals and supported various organizations trying to protect them. She enjoyed listening to music and playing the piano. Water, especially Lake Superior, provided great pleasure for her.
Barbara was a devoted wife and mother. She is survived by her husband of 30 years, Marlin Swanberg, now residing in Angora, Minn., with his daughter; three children, Elaine Giffen, New York City, Martha Giffen (Daniel) Rockey, Corvallis, Ore., Guy Giffen (Mary), Bend, Ore.; four stepchildren, Alan (Laurie) Swanberg, Virginia, Minn., Carol Swanberg (Christopher) Cheney, Angora, Minn.; Rick ( Beverly) Swanberg and Jerry Swanberg, Ottertail, Minn.; sister, Susanne Leslie Breskin, Superior, Wis.; two half brothers, Robert (Nancy) Leslie, White Plains, N.Y., Steve Leslie, Anderson, Ind.; half sister, Jayne Leslie (Richard) Burkhardt, Urbana, Ill.; several grandchildren, cousins, nieces and nephews.
A private family gathering to celebrate Barbara's life will be held this summer. Memorials in her name may be made to the National Wildlife Federation.
McHenry Funeral Home is handling arrangements.
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