Janet (née Becker) Swiston, 79

Janet (née Becker) Swiston, of Stevens Point, passed away peacefully on Monday, February 19, 2024, after a brief battle with cancer. She was 79.

Janet was born in Maquoketa, Iowa, on September 12, 1944, to Vernon Becker and Dorthy (née Wolfe) Becker. She graduated from Lost Nation, Iowa, Community School in 1962, and received a bachelor’s degree in music education from Luther College in 1966. She met Dean Swiston in Oskaloosa, Iowa, and they were married on July 23, 1967.

Janet had a passion for music, education, and community service. She taught elementary instrumental and vocal music in Oskaloosa, Reinbeck, New Sharon, and Van Buren school systems in Iowa. After moving to Stevens Point, Wisconsin in 1986 she taught English as a Second Language for 17 years until her retirement in 2005. Janet was a devoted teacher, investing herself in her students’ success and connecting with their culture and families.

Her love for music began as a child with lessons in piano and clarinet. She passed on that love for music, giving piano lessons to her sons and listening to all her grandchildren play at Christmas and at recitals. Her own musical talent extended to directing and singing in church choirs, playing in recorder groups and handbell choir, and accompanying church and nursing home services.

Beyond teaching, she lived out her calling in education through the Stevens Point Area Retired Teachers Association (SPARTA) as a volunteer. She was a member of the Portage County Literacy Council Board and a tutor. She never stopped learning and had great interest in genealogy research and travel.

She showed compassion to those who needed an extra hand. She was a member and past Chairperson of the Portage County Hunger and Poverty Prevention Project. She also led the way in the “Plant a Row” initiative in the early 2000s, encouraging gardeners to plant an extra row to donate to the needy. Her service continued as an active member at Trinity Lutheran Church in Stevens Point, especially through ministries associated with hunger relief and community service.

In addition to the work she did for her community, Janet cared deeply for her family. She blessed them all through her love and guidance, as well as with beautiful handmade quilts, knitting projects and produce from her bountiful garden. She delighted in others’ success and loved to cheer her children and grandchildren on in their endeavors. She will be missed as a pillar for her family.

She is survived by husband Dean; three sons: Michael (Rachel), St. Louis; Timothy (Myra), Stevens Point; Andrew (Kristen), Fairfax, VA; nine grandchildren: Ella, Bryn, Drew, Stephen, Zachary, Elena, Anna, Celia, and Lydia; brothers Kevin Becker (Vicki), DeWitt, IA; and Neal Becker (Sue), Davenport, IA; sisters-in-law Donna Becker, New Hampton, IA and Carol (Jim) Kelley, Fallbrook, CA.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Vernon Becker and Dorothy (Wolfe) Becker; brother, Roger Becker; and two infant brothers, Paul Becker and Donald Becker.

A memorial service will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1410 Rogers St., Stevens Point, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 16, with visitation starting at 10 a.m. A visitation will also be held on Friday, March 15th, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Boston Funeral Home, 1649 Briggs St., Stevens Point.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Janet’s name to Hunger and Poverty Prevention Partnership of Portage County, https://hppp-pc.com/, or Trinity Lutheran Church, https://www.trinitysp.com/.