Donita Joyce Swenson


Donita Swenson was born in Tecumseh, Neb., on May 13, 1941, and passed away on Sunday, April 14, 2013, in Cortez, at the age of 71. She grew up in Nebraska and graduated from the University of Nebraska. In 1963, Donita married Len Swenson and moved to San Diego. After a year of teaching math to middle school students, she decided that teaching was not for her (too many spitballs). She became proficient as a computer programmer and spent most of her career as a systems analyst for Bonneville Power Administration in Portland, Ore.

Donita and her husband enjoyed traveling and visited many foreign countries until her MS made travel difficult. They were active in the Friends of the Columbia Gorge. Donita never let her disability interfere with trying out a new restaurant or going to a wine tasting. She was cheerful and funny, a good listener, and very generous to her helpers.

After her husband’s death in 2011, Donita moved to Aspen Gardens Assisted Living Center in Cortez, to be closer to her sister, Dianne Weitzenkamp, and husband, Roger of Dolores, Colo. In addition to her sister, Donita is survived by her mother, Leona Schmidt, of Lincoln, Neb.; her nieces and nephews, Jennie Schmidt and Mark Schmidt, of Lincoln, Neb., and Doug Schmidt of Sterling, Neb.; her brother-in-law, George Swenson and wife, Linda, of Raleigh, N.C.; her sister-in-law, Judi Schmidt, of Sterling, Neb.; her wonderful caregivers, Valley Jean Williford and Darwin McCulloch and all the other staff and family at Aspen Gardens. She was preceded in death by her husband, Len Swenson; her father, Victor Schmidt; her brothers, Don, Darrell, and Duwane Schmidt; and by her nephew, Tim Schmidt.

Cremation has taken place and no services are planned. Memorial contributions may be made in Donita Swenson’s name to Friends of the Columbia Gorge, P.O. Box 40820, Portland, Ore. 97240. Arrangements are being made through Ertel Funeral Home. For further information or to send condolences, log on to and click on the obituary section.

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