Jean Eleanore (Swanson) Lewis
October 21, 2021
SHAWANO, Wis. — Jean Eleanore (Swanson) Lewis, 92, of Shawano, formally of Hurley, died Oct. 15, 2021, in Shawano, with her family by her side.
Jean was born Aug. 15, 1929, in Detroit, daughter of the late Clifford and Laila (Asunto) Swanson. Jean’s ancestors were pioneer residents of Ironwood, Michigan. She attended schools in Winegar, Wisconsin (Presque Isle) and Ironwood, graduating from Luther L. Wright High School in 1947. While in the high school band, she was seated first saxophone and that love of music remained a big part of her life.
After graduation, she was briefly employed at an Ironwood glove factory until she was offered a job with the Ironwood Phone Company, where she worked through the early ‘60s. Later in life, she worked at, and then managed, Johnny’s Gas Station and Convenience Store in Hurley.
Jean fought for union rights all of her adult life and served many years as an officer for the Iron County Democratic Party. She was a lifelong Democrat and served as a delegate for Jimmy Carter at the Wisconsin State Democratic Convention in 1976. Even though she didn’t attend, she was thrilled to be invited to President Jimmy Carter’s inauguration.
She was a strong advocate for the humane treatment of all animals and her homes always included at least one or two stray or rescued dogs. She was a well-known card player and especially enjoyed playing bridge with the Range Duplicate Bridge Club or poker and cribbage with family and friends.
In retirement, she liked to travel and spend time at her cottage in Mercer. She was an excellent cook and had a knack for creating beautiful flower gardens throughout her yard. Jean’s greatest joy was being with her family, especially time spent with her grandsons. She was always so proud to see them reach the milestones in their lives.
On Sept. 23, 1950, Jean was united in marriage to Laurence “Gus” Lewis, of Hurley, at the First Presbyterian Church by the late Rev. C.L. Harries. Over the years, Jean and Gus resided in Ironwood, Hurley and Mercer. Gus preceded her in death in April 2005. After Gus died, Jean moved to Shawano to be closer to family.
Jean is survived by her sons, Craig Lewis, Hudson, and Tod (Jeanie) Lewis, Shawano; grandsons, Erik Lewis (Kristina Ewald), Green Bay, Ian Lewis (Mackenzie Mentel), East Lansing, Michigan, and Addison Lewis, Shawano; her brother, Dennis (Terry) Swanson, Merrill; two nieces, Jeri Swanson, Colorado and Kristy (Scott) Brunso, Indiana; and 18 cousins.
Besides her parents and husband, Jean was preceded in death by her brother and sister-in-law, Gerald and Patti Swanson.
A private service will be held in the summer of 2022 to celebrate her life.
Memorial contributions may be made in her memory to HOPE Animal Shelter, (P.O. Box 261, Ironwood, MI 49938) or to Compassus Hospice (2960 Allied St., Suite 105, Green Bay, WI 54304).
Her family would like to extend their thanks and appreciation, for the care and kindness shown to Jean, to the staff at Maple Lane Nursing Home, Birch Hill Nursing Home, and most recently, her care team from Compassus Hospice.
The family has chosen McKevitt-Patrick Funeral Home of Ironwood to honor Jean’s legacy of life. You can leave a condolence or a tribute at mckevittpatrickfuneralhome.com.