Barbara Melaas-Swanson


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Posted Online: March 01, 2012, 6:42 pm
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The Rev. Dr. Barbara J. Melaas-Swanson, 51, of Port Byron, died Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012, at her home after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 3, at First Lutheran Church, 114 E. Main St., Geneseo. Visitation will be held from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. today at Messiah Lutheran Church, 302 11th St. N., Port Byron, and from 9 a.m. until the time of service Saturday at First Lutheran Church. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Messiah Lutheran Church or Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (Pancan.org).

The former Barbara J. Melaas was born March 27, 1960, in Decorah, Iowa, the daughter of Ira Joseph Jr. and Alice J. Logemann Melaas. She graduated from Rock Island High School in 1978, Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, in 1982, and from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, Pa., in 1986, where she met her future husband. Barbara then attended Durham University in England for her doctoral studies and received her Ph.D. in church history in 1993. She was united in marriage to the Rev. Wayne Swanson on Oct. 6, 1990, at St. James Lutheran Church in Rock Island, and they spent the first three years of their married life in England. While in England, she served as an assistant pastor at St. Luke's Lutheran Church, chaplain at the University of Durham and also worked at the Lutheran Student Chaplaincy Center, where she administered scholarships for overseas students on behalf of the Lutheran World Federation.

Upon returning to the U.S., she served at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Romeoville, Ill., and began her part-time teaching career in religious studies at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Ill. Her next call was to First Lutheran Church in Geneseo, where she served as associate pastor with her husband, from 1997-2000. During that time, she began teaching for Western Illinois University. The couple moved to Port Byron in November 2000, where she has served as co-pastor with her husband at Messiah Lutheran Church. She also taught as a part-time assistant professor in the Department of Religion at Augustana College in Rock Island.

Barbara loved spending time with her family and especially enjoyed attending her children's activities. She had a passion for travel and had a special place in her heart for England and her friends there. She also enjoyed music and gardening and loved to go on long walks. Barbara touched the lives of the many people she encountered along her life's journeys and was blessed with so many special friends.

Survivors include her husband, Rev. Wayne Melaas-Swanson, Port Byron; children, Daniel and Kirsten Melaas-Swanson, Port Byron; mother, Alice Melaas, Rock Island; sisters (and their spouses), Kristine Melaas Merkel (Keith Merkel), Marshfield, Wis., and Kari Melaas (Tony Owings), Roseville, Calif.; mother-in-law, Janet Swanson, Oxnard, Calif.; brothers-in-law, Kenneth Swanson, San Jose, Calif., and Brian (Erin) Swanson, Santa Clarita, Calif.; and nieces, Emily and Hanna Merkel and Katelyn (Binbin) Owings. She was preceded in death by her father, Ira Joseph Melaas Jr.; brother, Thomas Joseph Melaas; and father-in-law, Vernie Swanson.

Online condolences may be left at www.gibsonfuneralhomes.com.














 



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  Today is Tuesday, July 29, the 210th day of 2014. There are 155 days left in the year.

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1889 -- 125 years ago: James Normoyle arrived home after graduating from West Point with honors in the class of 1889. He was to report to Fort Brady, Mich., as second lieutenant in the 23rd Infantry.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Austria Hungary declared war on Serbia. Germany and Austria refused an invitation of Sir Edward Grey to join Great Britain at a mediation conference.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Dr. William Mayo, the last of the three famous Mayo brother surgeons, died at the age of 78.
1964 -- 50 years ago: One of the biggest horse shows of the season was held yesterday at Hillandale Arena on Knoxville Road under the sponsorship of the Illowa Horsemen's Club.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Davenport is like a gigantic carnival this weekend with the Bix Arts Fest taking over 12 square blocks of the downtown area. A festive atmosphere prevailed Friday as thousands of people turned out to sample what the Arts Fest has to offer.








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