Judy was born April 4, 1941 in Chicago, Illinois and died on November 29, 2014 after a prolonged battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. She resided in Laguna Beach from 1970 until 2012 at which time she became a resident at Silverado Memory Care facility in San Juan Capistrano.
Judy was proud of her Swedish heritage. Her father, Axel, was an immigrant and her mother, Myrtle, a first generation Swedish American. Judy was born in the Swedish section of Chicago, lived in the suburb of La Grange until she was fifteen and then moved with her family to Orange County where she attended Anaheim High School and graduated from Orange High School. Following high school she attended Fullerton College and then transferred to Whittier College on a full scholarship from the Irvine Foundation. After graduating from Whittier College she began teaching school in Marin County in Northern California and lived in Berkeley. It was in Berkeley where she met her husband, Keith. They were engaged in less than two months of meeting and married in June, 1964. They lived for two years in Los Gatos where Judy continued teaching
In 1970 after Keith’s stint in the Navy was completed they settled in Laguna Beach. Judy became active in non-profit organizations and then accepted a position with County Supervisor Tom Riley of the Fifth District as an Executive Aide. In that capacity she dealt with issues throughout the South County for nearly ten years.
Judy envisioned and created the Orange County Community Foundation in 1989. She recruited a group of community leaders, and together they developed a major institution for philanthropy which at the time of her retirement in 1999 was ranked in the top ten percent of all community foundations in the country for new asset growth. Her legacy lives on today with the Community Foundation. Judy received many awards and recognition over the years. She served on numerous non-profit boards and was a role model and mentor to many throughout the philanthropic community.
Judy and her husband, Keith were married for 50 years. Judy and Keith remained soul mates and best friends throughout their life together. A love and friendship that they shared from the first days they met. Judy had a wonderful and fulfilling life. After retirement she traveled with Keith throughout the world and engaged actively in philanthropy, giving back to others, something she believed in with a passion. It was only in the later years of Judy’s battle with Alzheimer’s Disease that her activities became limited.
Judy was a determined lady with tenacity and courage. She was also kind, gentle and caring. She loved art and simple beauty. Although not a professional artist she had a natural talent as seen through her drawings and watercolors. Her creativity was seen in all aspects of her career and her beautiful life which she lived with grace and poise. She was always the optimist and the one to encourage others. She was a role model for many inside the family and in the community.
Judy is survived by her husband, Keith; their daughter Anne Swayne Keir and her husband Matt of Honolulu, granddaughter Linnaea Kjellberg Swayne Keir to whom Judy is Mor Mor; their son Kirk Swayne and his wife Charlene, of Laguna Beach; her cousin Diane Weisenburger with whom she grew up; her cousin Don Hokanson and the younger generations in the family: Eric, Gretchen, Michael, Elizabeth, Paolo, Ruby, Harry and Evelyn; her cousins in Sweden with whom she maintained a close relationship and many, many friends and associates who she had the good fortune to have in her life over the years. Judy will be missed by all of us, but her impact on the family and the community will be felt for generations.
There will be a private service for the family and a celebration of Judy’s life with an open house on December 20th, 2014 from 2 pm to 4 pm . Donations in Judy’s name can be made to the Judy Swayne Leadership Fund at the Orange County Community Foundation and/or to UCI MIND for research into Alzheimer’s Disease. Please contact Rachel Tankersley at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.