MaryAnn Swallum (9/6/44 - 3/10/20)
MaryAnn Swallum passed away on Tuesday, March 10, in Brimson, Minn. She was born on Sept. 6, 1944, to Robert and Alice (Drews) Swallum in Los Angeles. She graduated from Heelan High School in Sioux City, Iowa; and she received a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance in 1966 from Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles. She attained her Master of Music degree from Northwestern University in Chicago in 1972.
MaryAnn was always devoted to the arts, particularly in music and in dance. She performed on the piano and violin throughout high school and college; one season, she was a member of the Chicago Summer Stock Ballet performing in "Coppelia." She studied piano under Wanda Paul at Northwestern University, and under Bertha Bush at the School for the Performing Arts in Chicago. She participated in Daniel Pollack's Piano Master Classes in Seattle for many years.
After her graduate training, MaryAnn founded the Swallum Music School in Wilmette, Ill. She taught piano to elementary through high school students; she also served as the Music Director of the Montessori School in Park Ridge, Ill. She received her Suzuki certification, teaching Suzuki piano at the Dunbarton School in Hamilton, Bermuda, for a year, before accepting a teaching position at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, serving as Chair, and Piano Instructor, of the College Preparatory Department. In addition, she participated as Clinician/Teacher Trainer of piano at the Suzuki Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
During her music career, she participated in student scholarship competitions as piano judge at the Illinois and Minnesota State Music Teachers Associations. She enjoyed being a member of the Cecilian Society of Duluth. In addition to teaching at the college, MaryAnn expanded her private teaching to piano students in Rochester.
One of the highlights of her work was being chosen by a 1985 Presidential Scholar as having made the most significant positive impact upon the Scholar's secondary education. The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars recognized her contribution to excellence in education, inviting her to participate in the 21st annual Presidential Scholars National Recognition Week in Washington, D.C. She received a Certificate of Excellence Award for "Teaching and Conscientious Contribution to Education," presented to her at the White House by President Ronald Reagan.
MaryAnn made time for other interests and talents. Growing up she loved her summers at Camp Hantesa in Boone, Iowa, as both a camper and counselor. She also achieved her solo pilot license on her 16th birthday, attending fly-in breakfasts with her father. After college, she took scuba diving lessons and received her certification culminating in a diving trip in the Caribbean. She loved canoeing in the boundary waters of Minnesota. She loved her cabin, along with hiking, north of Duluth.
Throughout her life, MaryAnn had serious health issues. She was eventually declared legally blind; yet, she never let that stop her from working hard in her profession, enjoying all her friends and family. Later in her life, she met her partner and soul mate, Dudley Elmgren, who passed away several months earlier.
MaryAnn had many friends who will always remember her for her love of the piano and her tremendous dedication to her students. She is survived by her sister, Carolyn (John) Danisi, South Salem, N.Y.; and her two nieces, Mary Danisi, Ithaca, N.Y., and Jacqueline Danisi of San Antonio, Texas; her cousins, Robert Giguere (Michele) of Rochester, Mass., and Kathleen Cirafice (Joseph) of Anaheim, Calif. She is preceded in death by her parents, Robert and Alice Swallum, formerly of Tomah, Wis.; aunt, Mary (Laurent) Giguere; uncle, Alfred (Anne) Drews; and cousin, Virginia Pelletier.
MaryAnn will be laid to rest at the Pine Grove Cemetery, New Bedford, Mass., alongside her parents and family.
Online condolences may be given at www.sonnenburgfamilyfh.com.