Janet Middleton Swanson, 79, passed away amidst family at her home in Highland Park on May 4th following an extended illness that resulted from a spontaneous neurological event. Janet was born in Abilene, Texas on June 6, 1941 to the late Dr. Edwin E. Middleton and his wife, the late Mrs. Marjorie Munger Middleton. She was the granddaughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Lillo S. Munger of Abilene, and the great-granddaughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Stephen I. Munger of Dallas.
Graduating in 1959 from Abilene High School with honors, Janet continued her education at Hollins College in Roanoke, Virginia. As a sophomore in 1960, she attended a summer semester at the University of Hawaii with her classmates from Hollins College. Janet and her classmates travelled by ship, and she entered a shooting contest held on deck where she competed primarily against male opponents only to win first place to the shock of all. In 1963, Janet graduated with a Batchelor of Arts degree in history from Texas Christian University. For her post-graduate studies, Janet attended Southern Methodist University from where she obtained Master of Arts degrees in History and English. She was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority.
During the 1960 social season, Janet was presented to society as a debutante by the Abilene Cotillion Club at its annual Cotillion Ball, which was held at the Abilene Country Club. Additionally, she, alongside the daughter of former President Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird Johnson, was one of the eight Jewels of Texas presented by the Women's Symphony League of Austin at its 1962 Jewel Ball. As Amethyst, Janet represented the Abilene Philharmonic and the city of Abilene.
A passionate and devoted teacher, Janet started her teaching career in the Richardson Independent School District, where she taught high school English from 1964-1967. She took a break from teaching in 1967 to focus on family and raising her two children, subsequently returning to the classroom in 1989. Always focused on education, it was at Lancaster High School where Janet's devotion and commitment to her students was on full display. For fifteen years, Janet and her teaching partner worked tirelessly in the school's Project Pass English and reading program, which successfully served at-risk students who were falling behind in English. Her efforts there earned her the role of English Department Chair, and she was honored as Teacher of the Year twice before her retirement in 2004. Janet was honored in 1999 as a Fellow of Weatherford College's Jack Harvey Academy of Exemplary Teachers.
Following her retirement, Janet moved to the family's beloved Caddo Peak Ranch near Cross Plains, Texas. While living at the ranch, Janet was involved with the Cross Plains Public Library, the town's Project Pride Organization, and the Callahan County Historical Commission. Throughout her lifetime, she loved studying Texas history and was a member of the West Texas and Texas State Historical Associations. Janet enjoyed searching for arrowheads and fossils on the ranch and sharing her discoveries with her children and grandsons. Over decades, she was always ready for truck rides on the ranch with her grandparents, parents, sister, children, nieces, and grandsons to go exploring, skeet shooting and, most of all, stargazing. Most recently, she treasured seeing her two grandsons, of whom she was so proud, develop into outdoorsmen on the ranch.
In 2012, Janet returned to Highland Park to be near her family, especially her grandsons. She loved having her family together for dinners and holidays, especially Christmas, and cherished every minute of those special times. Her hobbies and interests were scientific in nature and included archaeology, astronomy, genealogy, and geology. She also enjoyed artful lettering and made beautiful cards for family and friends. She loved her son and daughter with all of her heart as they loved her, and all that knew her describe her as sweet, kind, generous, humble, selfless, and strong. During the best and worst of times, she handled herself with graceful elegance.
Janet is survived by her two children, Kristen Lindsey Swanson and husband George E. Dimitri, Eric Munger Swanson and wife Kara, grandsons Charles Munger Swanson and Holt Middleton Swanson, sister Marsha Middleton Murray, and nieces Maureen Eagan and Marian Green. She was preceded in death by her parents, Dr. Edwin E. Middleton and Mrs. Marjorie Munger Middleton.
The family would like to acknowledge and thank Mrs. Susan E. Brooks Washington and Mrs. Connie Hoskins, who gave Janet months of love, comfort, devotion and the highest level of round-the-clock care. Their loving support of Janet and the family was comforting during such a difficult time.
A graveside funeral service is planned for 1:00 pm on Saturday, May 22nd at Elmwood Funeral Home and Memorial Park in Abilene, Texas. The family suggests that, in lieu of flowers, memorials be made in Janet's memory to the Cross Plains Public Library at 149 North Main Street, P.O. Box 333, Cross Plains, Texas 76443.