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Anchorage resident Linda Rose Swanke, 60, died Aug. 19, 2007, at home in Anchorage, surrounded by family members and friends after a long battle with cancer.
A funeral will be at 11 a.m. Monday at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, 2111 Muldoon Road. A reception will be afterward.
Ms. Swanke was born Sept. 16, 1946, to Rose and Gust Swanke in Valley City, N.D. She was raised and attended high school in Tower City, N.D. After attending and receiving her diploma in nursing from the Sisters of Saint Joseph School of Nursing in Grand Forks, N.D., Ms. Swanke moved to Houston, Texas. There she worked at The Methodist Hospital in the Texas Medical Center and attended the NeuroNurse Specialty course. This led to a certification in American Association of Neuroscience Nurses.
In 1976, Ms. Swanke chose to serve in the U.S. Air Force with the plan to see the world. She was assigned to Wilford Hall in San Antonio, Texas.
While in San Antonio, she received her Bachelor of Science in nursing at the Texas University of San Antonio. She was instrumental in the formation of a Myasthenia Gravis support group, and in organizing the first San Antonio Chapter of the American Association of Neuroscience.
Ms. Swanke was transferred to Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage in 1981. Although she had only planned to stay in Alaska for two years, she left the Air Force and remained here until her death. She worked with various neurologists in Anchorage and served on the Medical Advisory Board for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
In 1990, Ms. Swanke began working for the Federal Aviation Administration assigned to the Washington, D.C., office. At the time of her retirement, Ms. Swanke was the team coordinator for the Drug Abatement Program, which had required frequent travel around Alaska as well as the Lower 48. While in this position, she was named inspector of the year.
She was a member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church, the Midnight Sun Appliques, Anchorage Log Cabin Guild, and she was a past president of the Anchorage Emblem Club 329. She enjoyed volunteering to work the health fairs. Ms. Swanke enjoyed flower gardening in the summer, working the sprint
dog races in the winter, quilting with many friends, buying fabric to build "her stash" and the companionship of her dogs. She was always happy when she could get a friend hooked on quilting or Brazillian or silk ribbon embroidery.
Ms. Swanke's family and friends stated: "As a sister, aunt and friend, Linda was a great listener, confidante, mentor and teacher. She was able to pull people from different walks of life together and find their common interests. Her quilting and gardening skills were outlets for her incredible creativity.
"Her dedication to dog sledding and pet advocacy groups showed only a fraction of her compassionate nature. We should all strive to be the kind of friend that Linda was to each of us."
Ms. Swanke is survived by her siblings, Mary Ann Earles, Ruth Scudder and Harold Swanke; many nieces, nephews and friends in addition to her faithful companion Daisy Mae.
Ms. Swanke's ashes will be buried at the Greenwood Cemetery in Tower City, N.D., at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in her name to the animal rescue group of the donor's choice or to another favorite charity.
Local arrangements are with Witzleben Family Funeral Home & Crematory.
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