Cozad Resident: Donna Swanda (1931-2016)
Donna Belle (Johnson) Swanda of Cozad passed away peacefully in her sleep on August 24th, 2016. Donna was born May 11th, 1931 in Central City, Nebraska. She moved to Cozad with her husband Emil (Mike) Swanda in 1956 when Mike acquired and operated a pharmacy in Cozad. Donna was a devoted wife and a loving mother to three children, Vicki, Rex and Leslie, and grandmother to two grandchildren, Jamison and Nicholas. Mike and Donna were married for 62 years until his death in 2013.
Donna was a homemaker and loved to be with her family. She also enjoyed cooking, shopping and giving to others. Entertaining for special occasions brought out her best, especially at Christmas.
In addition to their children, Mike and Donna were foster parents to a number of children and also hosted three foreign exchange students. They enjoyed these experiences immensely and maintained contact with some of them even later in life.
Donna was active in Cozad United Methodist Church. She played in the bell choir and sang in the church choir. Donna volunteered at the Cozad Thrift Shop and was a long time member of PEO. Donna and Mike established a scholarship fund in the Cozad Community Schools Foundation and Donna was appointed to serve on the Board of Directors.
Donna was an avid bridge player. She played club and duplicate bridge in Cozad, North Platte, Minden, and tournaments throughout the country. She was well regarded as an accomplished bridge player by her peers.
Donna always looked on the bright side of things. In a little memoir book she made for her granddaughter, she weaved a constant theme of family, love and the importance of time with family and lasting memories. In her closing passage she asked that all who knew her “remember all the special times we have spent with one another.” There were so many….
Donna is survived by her children and their families – Vicki Miles (John), Lincoln, Nebraska; Jamison Miles, Chicago, Illinois; Nick Miles, Lincoln, Nebraska; Leslie Willey (Steve), Columbia, Missouri; and Rex Swanda and Ruben Gallegos, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
She was preceded in death by Mike, her brother Ken Johnson and sister Bette Berman.
A celebration of life was held at 4:00 p.m. Monday August 29th, 2016 at Cozad United Methodist Church. There was a private burial at Ft. McPherson National Cemetery preceding the celebration of life. Memorials in lieu of flowers are suggested to the Mike and Donna Swanda Scholarship Fund with the Cozad Community Schools Foundation.