Beverly Ruth (Swanson) Holmgren

Beverly Ruth (Swanson) Holmgren died at Sitka Community Hospital March 4, 2013, at the age of 80.
Bev was born May 22, 1932, to E. Gilbert and Ruth (Erickson) Swanson of Moline, Ill.
She earned her nursing degree from Mounds Midway School of Nursing in St. Paul, Minn., in 1954 and continued working at Midway Hospital in St. Paul until meeting her lifelong love, Melvin Holmgren, in 1955. The two were married in June of 1956, and soon began a family.
Mel and Bev lived in Denver, Colo., and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, before moving to Anchorage in 1964, right after the big earthquake.
From there, they moved to Fairbanks where Mel worked at the University of Alaska Geophysical Institute. After the Fairbanks Flood of 1967 they built their hillside house on Wolverine Lane.
Bev stayed home with their seven children, and was active at Bethel Baptist Church, in various Bible studies with neighbors and friends, and for several years as an election precinct worker.
She especially enjoyed children and loved telling them her favorite Bible stories.
Bev’s faith in Jesus Christ influenced every aspect of her life and home. People often commented that Bev’s kitchen, the center of her home, was the warmest and friendliest kitchen they had ever visited. She befriended people from all circumstances and walks of life, and many found refuge in Mel and Bev’s home during difficult times of their lives.
She passionately supported Young Life of Sitka as a member of the prayer support team. She believed in the power of prayer, she said, not because she was faithful to pray, but because God was faithful to listen.
The Holmgrens moved to Sitka in 1977 where Mel became a partner in  Sitka Electronics Lab, a marine electronics sales and service business catering to the fisherman of Southeast Alaska.
Bev became a receptionist at Dr. Edward Spencer’s office, and worked for him until his retirement. Together, Mel and Bev, along with several other families, started Trinity Baptist Church, now known as Grace Harbor.
After her job with Dr. Spencer ended, Bev spent many hours volunteering at the Pioneers Home, and Brave Heart, where she did housekeeping, errands and visiting the elderly  in Sitka. Her nursing background and compassionate nature made her a natural for this job.  At the Pioneers Home, she helped run the gift shop and visited  many friends who were residents there.
Bev is survived by her husband, Melvin, and their seven children and families: Melody, Allan and Andrew and Melissa Gabler of La Grande, Ore.; Jonathan, Jill, Adam and Erika Holmgren and Tupper Becker, Daniel Holmgren, and Peter, Lynn, Tucker and Brandol Holmgren, all of Fairbanks; Eric, Liz, Katie and Ben Holmgren of Sitka; Valerie, Mike and Megan Reninger of Olympia, Wash.; and Anneli and David Anderson of Portland, Ore.
She looked forward to being reunited with grandson Traven Holmgren, who died in 2001.
She is also survived by her brothers, Ralph, Tim and Jim Swanson and a sister, Sharon Van de Voorde who live in the Midwest; and 9 nieces and nephews.
A memorial service celebrating Bev’s life will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, April 6, at Grace Harbor.
Those who wish to contribute to a book of memories being made in her honor, are asked to e-mail stories and photos to Anneli Anderson, ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). Cards or other communications may be sent to Mel Holmgren, 236 Observatory St., Sitka, AK  99835.  (747-8353).
A memorial gift in honor of Beverly for Sitka Young Life may be sent to Sitka Young Life, PO Box 2046, Sitka, AK  99835, or to Mel Holmgren.
Bev’s ashes will be scattered on Cross Mountain near Sitka, and buried at Sitka Memorial Park, where a grave marker will be located.
Beverly Holmgren, an outstanding wife, mother, sister, mother-in-law and grandmother, will be deeply missed by her family and friends.

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