HALLOWELL -- Vicki Swanson passed away May 10 after a courageous battle with a rare form of sarcoma.
"I was born Aug. 26, 1953, in Minneapolis, Minn., the daughter of Constance Swanson Bears and Harold Swanson, and the late William (Bill) Bears of Gardiner. I graduated from Gardiner Area High School in 1971 and worked at the Maine State Board of Nursing for over 36 years. I was a member of the Highland Avenue United Methodist Church in Gardiner.
"I am predeceased by my father, Harold Swanson; step-father Bill Bears; sister Cynthia (Cindy) Howell; and my beloved dog, Adam. I am survived by my mother, Connie Bears, of Gardiner; two daughters, Michelle Lynn and her husband, Joshua Berard, of Augusta; Rae-Lynn Cronau and her companion, Steven Mayo, of South China; sister Elizabeth "Liz" and her husband, John Snider, of Arizona; one grandson, Talan Mayo, of South China; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.
"I want to thank everyone who has been with me through my illness, including, but not limited to: Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Spaulding Rehab, Harold Alfond Cancer Center, Drs. Andrew Wagner and Jonathan Carlson, Road to Recovery, Connie Graham, Sandy Ritchie, Nancy Taylor, and of course, my family and friends."
Vicki wrote this obituary, but has omitted how much her courage and strength were an inspiration to those who knew her. From the pre-diagnosis period, through the surgeries, rehabilitation, chemotherapy and radiation, she remained upbeat and optimistic. Never much of a risk-taker, as part of her post-amputation therapy, she tried wind-sailing, kayaking and horseback riding. She pushed herself through intensive physical therapy so that she could walk her daughter, Michelle, down the aisle at her wedding in July 2009. She participated in clinical trials in an effort to provide the medical community with data that could help other cancer patients. Her positive outlook on life, sense of humor, and faith were never-ending. Vicki had a great love for all animals, as well as her special place, Prince Edward Island.
She will be missed more than she will ever know by her family and many, many friends.
Visiting hours will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, May 15, at Staples Funeral Home, 53 Brunswick Ave., Gardiner. A memorial service will be held Monday, May 16, at 11 a.m. at Highland Avenue United Methodist Church in Gardiner. Burial will occur at Oak Grove Cemetery in Gardiner.
Memorial contributions may be made to the humane society or animal shelter of your choice.