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PEKIN ~ Kay Antoinette Marie Rose Swanson, 87, of Pekin, passed away at 11:58 a.m. Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at UnityPoint Health-Pekin.

Born October 20, 1932 in Watertown, Wisconsin to Kenneth and Opal (Skeel) Rose, she married Royce “Roy” Eugene Swanson on April 16, 1955 in Wautoma, Wisconsin. He died March 26, 2015 in Pekin. She was also preceded in death by her parents and niece Linda Rose-Hooper. She was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Wautoma, Wisconsin.

Surviving are her three sons, Michael (Kelly) Swanson of Glendale, California, Stevan (Holly) Swanson of Pekin, and Paul (Judy) Swanson of Dunlap; five grandchildren, Andrea Lewis, Mikal Swanson, Ken Swanson, Joseph Swanson and Jack Swanson; two step-grandchildren, Micah Harlan and Gabrielle Janssen. Three great-grandchildren, Alivia and Jayden Lewis and Kinleigh Swanson. And one brother, Roger (Barbara) Rose of Pompano Beach, Florida.

She was our staunchest advocate, and a dear dear friend to all of us as we became adults, but most of all our beautiful and loving Mama. Even now into our 50's and 60’s, she blanketed us with an all-encompassing love that was unbound and selfless. Always worrying about us, always asking how we were doing. Did we need something? What could she do for us?

The world has certainly lost a radiant and shining star. But, we have lost something far more significant in our lives, our Beautiful Mother! She painted beautiful pictures, and she could sing show tunes and musicals, and she ice skated like a boss. She shot hoops and played catch with her boys up into her 70's!Moreover, she would also be the first one to wring the necks of any of her boys if they stepped out of line, and was even quicker to the punch to help them out if they needed anything! She loved Fred Astair and was a good enough dancer that she should have been in pictures with him. She took great joy in playing the piano with aplomb. While she also enjoyed writing, especially short stories.

In her earlier years she was a four-year Varsity cheerleader for Wautoma High School. She also played coronet at all high school band functions. She went to college at UW-Stevens Point, and then moved to Chicago with a few lifelong friends for work. This is where she would meet her future husband Roy. After Chicago, Kay settled down with Roy and helped to create a beautiful home for them. They eventually had three sons, Michael, Stevan, and Paul.

To say that she was a homemaker, would not be sufficient! She was more like the cruise director and entertainer on the "Good Ship Lollypop."(Which is rather ironic considering that she actually won a nationwide Shirley Temple lookalike contest in the later 1930's which came with a huge painted portrait of her).On that magical ship the always vivacious, effervescent and imaginative Kay proceeded to then fill the next 65 years of her time dreaming up ways to energize, sweeten and maintain all of her wondrous ideas into continuous waves of limitless smiles and love for her family. She dedicated chunks of every year just to make sure that our Christmas's were the best of all time! She continued to pull it off even up to the last few days before she decided to see her Roy again. Her life was so meaningful. She made all of ours so immeasurably meaningful because of her unbound love and presence in it. All of this while she hid the fact that she was unbound in her determination to make sure that we got all of the little things that in retrospect, always mattered the most. This was her legacy.

So, to our dearest Mother and comrade in arms; as you depart on your next adventure "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" may you reunite with your husband, and your parents, and your grandmother "Mommie" and all of your dear friends that you have missed for so long! May you pick up where you were with them when they left you. It is now time for you to think about you for a change! You've definitely earned it! Now it's your turn to rest and relax! Godspeed to the best cruise director with the most titles! Mama, Mommy, Mom, Grandma Kay, Miss Kay, and GMK! Godspeed! Thanks for the memories! You were the best ever!

Her private family funeral will be at 10:00 am Saturday, October 17, 2020 at Preston-Hanley Funeral Homes & Crematory in Pekin. Father Michael Andrejek will officiate. Burial will be at Prairie Haven Cemetery in Pekin.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be given to National Osteoporosis Foundation at

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