WILMINGTON — Florence Shaffer Swanson, 94, was surrounded by the love of her family when she peacefully passed away Tuesday, March 23, 2021, at Davis Health Care, Wilmington.
Florence, known as “Smiley,” or “Floss” by her parents and childhood friends, was born May 25, 1926, in Boston, Massachusetts. During her high school years, her family moved to New Jersey, where she grew up with her two sisters, Barbara and Gertrude.
At age 17, she met the love of her life and husband of over 60 years, Johnny, while he was a young M.P. from Georgia stationed at Governors Island, New York. They married in 1945 and began a new life together, raising five children.
In 1985, they moved to Wilmington, calling it their retirement home near the beach. Florence was amazed at the growth of homes and businesses and the loss of trees since 1985. She was a volunteer at the Cape Fear Hospital for many years and member of St. Mark’s Roman Catholic Church. She was very proud of her contribution to the new church and their donation brick. Every family member visiting from out of state was shown the Swanson brick.
Florence always had a smile for everyone, and she maintained friendships dear to her. She was very proud to have friends from high school. She said many times that she always found something good in everyone and lived by her mother’s rule: If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
During her later years, she loved to tell her cherished childhood stories. Florence was truly blessed to come from a close and loving family. Florence was the daughter of the late Percy Charles and Gertrude A. (Flynn) Shaffer. She was also preceded in death by her husband, John C. Swanson; two sons, Stephen and David Swanson; and two sisters, Barbara Austin and Gertrude Gilson.
She is survived by daughters, Barbara Mullican, and her husband, Roscoe, of Winnabow and Joanne Layton, and her husband, Bruce, of Gallatin, Tennessee; as well as son, Matthew Swanson, and his wife, Gina, of Leland. Florence also leaves behind eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren; and four nieces, five great-nieces and great-nephews. She will be sorely missed by her family and friends.
A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m., Monday, March 29, at Oleander Memorial Gardens, 306 Bradley Creek Drive, Wilmington.
Share online condolences with the family at Andrews Mortuary & Crematory.