May 1, 1927 – March 5, 2022
Jean M. Swanson Wilmesmeier, age 94, of Portland, Oregon passed away on Saturday, March 5, 2022. Jean was born May 1, 1927 in Sheridan, Wyoming to Bert and Eva Gross.
Jean graduated in 1949 from the University of Colorado with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Education. After college, she lived and worked in Denver, CO where she met her first husband, Seceral Seay Swanson, Jr. (“Swede”). They married in 1950 in Denver, CO, spent a few years living in Swede’s hometown of Dallas, TX, then returned to Sheridan in 1953. Jean worked as an administrative assistant initially, but then began her teaching career at Tongue River High School in Ranchester/Dayton where after two years she taught at the Wyoming Girl’s School. After the brith of her second child, she took a year off and returned to business administration at Sheridan Community College. A few years later, Jean began the most fulfilling job of her professional career when she started teaching business classes at Sheridan High School where she continued until her retirement, more than 20 years later in 1989. In 2015, Jean moved to Portland, Oregon to be closer to her daughter and family.
During her marriage to Swede, Jean had two children, Robert Bruce Swanson and Judith L. Swanson. Later in her life, she married Bob Wilmesmeier with whom she had a wonderful relationship until his passing.
Jean’s passion for teaching extended beyond the classroom, most notably with her sponsorship of the Future Business leaders of America wherein her students won State and National awards. Outside of teaching, Jean lived a very active lifestyle that included her love for playing golf, bridge, and dancing of all types, but especially swing dancing. She once told her granddaughter, she would never marry someone who couldn’t dance. She had a strong faith, attending her Presbyterian church and volunteering on many church committees. After retirement, she enjoyed traveling and volunteered in the Sheridan community. Jean was a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for 15 years as well as volunteering at the Historic Sheridan Inn, the Sheridan Memorial Hospital, and with the (then) Women’s Shelter. Jean made it a part of her mission to support the Philanthropic Education Organization Program for Continuing Education and was a lifelong member of the National Education Society.
Jean is survived by her son Robert Bruce Swanson; daughter Judith Swanson (Jana Corder); daughter-in-law Janet Swanson; grandchildren Adam Swanson, Claire Vick, Keaton Corder-Swanson and Jordan Corder-Swanson. Jean was preceded in death by her first spouse, Seceral Seay Swanson, Jr.; second spouse Bob Wilmesmeier; brothers Marvin Tilden and Lionel Gross with whom she shared the same birthday, two years apart. Lionel preceded Jean in death just a few months earlier in October, 2021 at the age of 96.
A celebration of Jean’s life and service will be held at the First Presbyterian Church on July 13, 2022 at 11:00 am with a reception to follow.