Cover photo for Shirley Katherine Swanson's Obituary
Shirley Katherine Swanson Profile Photo
1942 Shirley 2024

Shirley Katherine Swanson

December 24, 1942 — May 22, 2024

Franklin, Tennessee

Shirley Katherine Swanson, a beacon of love and selflessness, passed away peacefully on May 22, 2024, in Franklin, TN, succumbing to Alzheimer's Disease at the age of 81. Born on Christmas Eve in 1942, in Austin, Texas, to Cliff and Jana Thornton, Shirley's life was a tapestry of devotion, kindness, and community spirit. She was the cherished wife of Roger T. Swanson, the beloved mother of Tanya (Richard) Dunlap and David (Lori) Swanson, the proud grandmother of Rachael (Loic) Adjevi, Trevor (Emily) Swanson, Quinn Dunlap, and Georgia Katherine Dunlap, and the adoring great-grandmother of Arden Swanson. Shirley's love extended to her brother, Kip (Pam) Thornton. She was preceded in death by her sister, Nancy ”Hannah” Witte, her son, Rod Swanson, and her parents.

Shirley's journey through life was marked by her commitment to her family and her community. She earned a Bachelor of Arts, from Murray State University. Her home was a warm and welcoming harbor, not just for her family, but for all who knew her.

Volunteering was second nature to Shirley. For 14 years, she gave her time and heart to hospice care, providing comfort to those at the end of their life's journey. Her hands lovingly smocked clothes for little ones, and her musical talent rang out as she played handbells in the church chorus, sharing her spirit through the harmony of bells. Her commitment to the community was further evident through her work at the Nashville Rescue Mission, where she offered hope and help to those in need.

Shirley was a faithful member of the First United Methodist Church of Paris, Tennessee, where she found strength and solace in her faith. The church was not just a place of worship for her, but a source of fellowship and service.

Her life revolved around her family, a testament to her loving and spirited nature. She was the heart of family gatherings, and comfort in times of need, and the cheerleader in every achievement. Shirley's selflessness knew no bounds; she was the embodiment of the quote by Helen Keller, "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart."

Shirley's passing leaves a void in the lives of those who knew and loved her. Yet, her legacy of love and service will continue to live on in the hearts of her family and the many lives she touched. Her laughter, her warmth, and her unwavering spirit will be deeply missed, but the memories she created will be cherished forever.

A life so beautifully lived deserves to be beautifully remembered. Shirley Katherine Swanson was a gift to all who had the pleasure of knowing her, and her story will be told with love and admiration for generations to come.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting memorial contributions be made to the Nashville Rescue Mission in Shirleys memory. 

The family will hold a private burial at a later date. WILLIAMSON MEMORIAL FUNERAL HOME, 615-794-2289, www.williamsonmemorial.com.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Shirley Katherine Swanson, please visit our flower store.

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