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Fran Swift

Fran Swift was a Parent Educator who joined The Parenting Place in 1998 and recently retired in the fall of 2021. She passed away on Friday, May 13th 2022 just weeks away from her 77th birthday. Fran was the epitome of strength-based family support. Every parent, child, staff and community member she came in contact with experienced her connection and presence. She had a tremendous impact on the parenting community in the La Crosse area – supporting, encouraging, empowering, educating and role-modeling for thousands of parents and other grown-ups caring for children. Condolences to Fran’s family can be sent to The Parenting Place, 1500 Green Bay St, La Crosse, WI and we will forward them.

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17 thoughts on “Fran Swift”

  1. Ashley O says:

    Fran was always so welcoming and kind. She was a steady presence and a gentle soul. During my summer interning at The Parenting Place, I learned so much from her. Two of the most influential being to be present with others and to appreciate the simple. Thank you Fran for your wisdom and insight at a pivotal time in my life.
    My deepest condolences to her family, friends, and coworkers. Whenever her time would have been, it would always feel too soon. She is deeply missed. May she rest in peace and happiness with her husband.

  2. Beth Taborda says:

    I met Fran during an exercise class. I knew her outside the parenting place. She exuded kindness friendliness and a general aura of peace. When someone in the class needed a helping hand or a meal we all talked about it, but she acted on it, made the meal and took it to the person who could benefit from it. She made a definite impression on the short time I knew her.

  3. The Merkey Family says:

    It’s hard to imagine our life without Fran in it. She guided us through our parenting struggles in her gentle way, and celebrated our joys and small victories with us. We miss her so.

  4. Kylie Horne says:

    Fran was a shining light at the Parenting Place and in the community. In the depths of the pandemic, Fran sent emails with special activity ideas for families to do outside in nature. What struck me was not just the ingenuity of her ideas or the fresh perspective she brought to things like dreary March days, but the beauty of her writing. Fran was clearly so talented and so intelligent, and she chose to channel her skills into parenting and helping others parent. I do not think Fran did this light-heartedly, or that anyone who has benefited from Fran’s teachings should. She must have known that parenting, and teaching others how to parent, would be the best avenue to impact our world. Our community is lucky to have had Fran teach us. I hope we can all honor her legacy by putting conscious efforts into our parenting and giving ourselves the grace to be self reflective and ask for help. In one of her emails, Fran wrote “Plato says “The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things.” Well, Fran herself was very clearly one of those lovey things, and how lucky we all were to play among her for a while. Thank you Fran.

  5. Kristin says:

    Fran was so special! Her parenting wisdom helped me through some of the hardest parenting moments I’ve known. She made a huge impact on my parenting style, and my children and family continue to benefit from her teachings today and they will continue to impact my family over generations. I am forever grateful. Fran was an angle on earth. Sending deepest condolences to her family on the loss of this amazing woman.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Fran was a kind gentle soul. She always met you where you were at. She didn’t expect any more or any less and love you where you were. Her sweet disposition, gentle touch, and soft spoken words will be missed. Gwen

  7. Cassie says:

    Fran was one the nicest person I have every met. She always made you feel welcome at the parenting place, you could be taking a child care class or if you worked at the parenting place. I worked at the parenting place for a short period of time as one of the evening childcare provider. It was alway nice to see and talk to Fran. She will be missed.

  8. Jessica says:

    Fran was one of the first people I met at The Parenting Place and she is the reason that I was able to work for The Parenting Place. I will never know what Fran saw in me that day as I was a little lost in life at the time but her kindness and her smile made me feel welcomed that day and for many days after. I loved talking with Fran and so appreciated her kindness and loving nature when I became a parent. She was always there to help, to laugh with, to be supportive, and at times just listen. She helped me grow as a parent and as a person just being around her. I will never forget watching her play with and entertaining Madison whenever she was around. I will never forget the countless play shops, and special events she did and allowed me to be a part of and the many Children’s Festivals she put such care into!! Your spirit Fran lives on in so many of us and in our children!! Thank you for being the wonderful person you were!! You will be missed beyond words!!!❤️

  9. Jessica says:

    Fran was one of the first people I met at The Parenting Place and she is the reason that I was able to work for The Parenting Place. I will never know what Fran saw in me that day as I was a little lost in life at the time but her kindness and her smile made me feel welcomed that day and for many days after. I loved talking with Fran and so appreciated her kindness and loving nature when I became a parent. She was always there to help, to laugh with, to be supportive, and at times just listen. She helped me grow as a parent and as a person just being around her. I will never forget watching her play with and entertaining Madison whenever she was around. I will never forget the countless play shops, and special events she did and allowed me to be a part of and the many Children’s Festivals she put such care into!! Your spirit Fran lives on in so many of us and in our children!! Thank you for being the wonderful person you were!! You will be missed beyond words!!!❤️

  10. Deb Michaels says:

    When I was a music teacher in La Crosse, one of my concerts featured a musical adaptation of her book Old Blue Buggy. She came and spoke with the kids, provided great feedback, tons of encouragement, and afterward presented each performer with a book cover magnet. She was a real class act!

    1. Heather Rabe says:

      Fran was so kind and fun! The kids loved her and so did I! She used an artfully simple approach and I learned so much from her.

  11. Glenna says:

    Fran also made me the best breastfeeding/energy cookies after my first daughter was born and i always try to make them for my friends when they have babies too. She knew how important it was to have “one-handed” food options
    💗💗💗💗💗💗💗💗

  12. Judy says:

    I first met Fran when she took my maternity leave at The Parenting Place (when it was Family Resources). She was gentle, kind, and had a quick smile for all. I still make her Turkey Pot Pie recipe after Thanksgiving (it’s delicious). And my autographed copy Old Blue Buggy (her book) is still on my shelf. We lost touch as the years went by but she is always in my heart.

  13. Amy Sloan says:

    Fran saw my strengths and called them out when I was struggling, listened with kind attention, gave simple steps to move forward, and always encouraged more simple play. Her joyful, welcoming smile and heart was there to greet us and reassure us at every encounter. My parenting journey would not have been the same without Fran’s beautiful, simplistic, and encouraging influence. I will always hold a special place in my heart for Fran.

    I loved hearing her all stories including growing up, raising her own children, and experiencing her grandchildren. Some stories that stand out are not being able to come downstairs until her mother had finished her coffee, her nature school experience in Winona with her young children, and watching her grandson’s eyes light up when Dick left some coins out to be found.

  14. Gretchen says:

    Fran was simply one of the greatest individuals I have ever met. Her kind demeanor, soft approach, and smile were a valuable presence when my girls were young. She has touched so many more lives than she has realized with her parent educating that will be passed on to further generations we need more Frans in this world. I am so sorry to hear of her passing —she was truly a role model for so many. Her legacy will continue I have no doubt.

  15. Glenna says:

    Fran, you were simply the best listener around. You listened without judgement and always seemed to have a simple truth to offer that , if it didn’t ever solve my problems, always seemed to make them feel less heavy. You shared your own parenting struggles and made me feel less alone. And your way of looking at life was so simple but so deeply beautiful. You saw the everyday moments as great lessons and opportunities. I loved talking to you for hours and hearing your stories about your life with Dick, and with your own children. Grammas always love their grandbabies, and hearing you talk about yours was so touching as it was obvious they were helping you see the magic of children anew. I’ll miss our easy friendship and our talks, and your way of seeing the world. Our community was better because of you and your impact and great love will be felt for generations to come. I’m sad, but I’m so happy because your life was lived with the utmost love and wisdom and I was able to witness that.

  16. Jenny says:

    Fran was a nice educator and always smiled and was nice and gentle to us!
    She will be missed