FT. MYERS, FLORIDA — Dotha (Dotty) Swan passed away Feb. 10, 2021 in Ft. Myers, Florida, from complications of pancreatic cancer. During her 18-month illness, and through the transition to a new life, she lived with remarkable faith, grace and peace. She was especially grateful for the abundant prayers and outreach by so many friends during this period. Her life is celebrated with thankfulness by her surviving family, including husband, Lee, and their five children: Kevin, David, Sarah (Swan-McDonald), Stephen, and Ellyn (Koenig), along with 11 grandchildren.
Dotty was born in Madison Wisconsin on Oct. 4, 1938. Raised as a single child with loving parents, Walter and Esther Kalsow, she attended Verona, Wisconsin high school with no thought of post-high school education. However, strong encouragement and support from her teachers convinced her to enroll in the UW-Madison School of Nursing from which she graduated in 1960. Her early nursing career started in the cancer research center at UW Hospitals. Later, while being a mother to her small children, she worked part-time in various Madison hospital labor and delivery wards which she described as her most joyous nursing experience. Her love of small children propelled her life.
Dotty and Lee were married in Madison in 1961. Most of their nearly 60 years of marriage were lived in Madison and Northfield, with short stints in Friendship, Wi and Olympia Washington. In retirement they moved to Shell Lake Wisconsin, and enjoyed six months each year in Ft. Myers. After the family's move in 1976 to Northfield, Dotty started providing child care in her home for a few children of Northfield school teachers. This grew to a flourishing day care center for the next 25 years that became the passion and centerpiece of Dotty's professional career. Many "graduates" of her day-care, and their families, have maintained contact with Dotty, expressing gratitude for the importance of her child care service in their life.
Dotty had a love and skill for floral gardens which she nurtured at their home in Northfield on Heath Creek. During her retirement at Shell Lake, she developed a huge floral garden at their Red Barn Campground. This love for nature was an ever-present pleasure in Dotty's life. A family funeral will be at Bethel Church in early April, with an outdoor Memorial Service and reception for friends at Eric and Sarah Swan McDonald's Heath Creek residence on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2 to 4 p.m. An Internment Service and reception for friends and family will be held Aug. 7, 2 to 4 p.m., at the Red Barn Campground, Shell Lake, Wisconsin.
It was Dotty's wish that any memorial gifts be given to the Northfield Garden Club.