Cover photo for Geoffrey Swanson's Obituary
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1988 Geoffrey 2022

Geoffrey Swanson

March 17, 1988 — June 7, 2022

Geoffrey Lynn Swanson was born on March 17, 1988 in Grand Forks to parents Debbie and Howard Swanson.  He passed away at his home in Minneapolis, MN on June 7, 2022. 

He attended Century Elementary and South Middle Schools graduating from Red River High School in 2006.  During his middle and high school years, Geoff was involved in National Honor Society, music, Spanish Club, yearbook editorial staff, Theatre, Summer Performing Arts and Tennis. He hosted two students in the Japanese Exchange program and traveled to Grand Forks’ sister city in Tochigi Japan. This began his lifelong love of travel and led to later exchange trips to Spain and Costa Rica.  His faith was strengthened in high school through confirmation and participation in youth activities at Calvary Lutheran church including Media Pray, Free Donuts (a youth music worship group) and mission trips to other parts of the United States. 

Geoff attended St. Olaf College – his dream school – graduating in 2010 with BA degrees in Political Science and Spanish.  He was a member of multiple choirs and looked forward to the annual Christmas Festival program each December.  A highlight of his college experience was the Term in the Middle East, where he traveled to Turkey, Egypt and Morocco. His tightknit group of fellow students learned new languages, how to navigate cultural barriers, and the universal language of gathering around a communal table to enjoy wonderful foreign foods. He also traveled to Spain, Costa Rica, England and France during college J Terms along with close Ole friends.  During his college years he worked in the campus admissions office and as a barista at Goodbye Blue Monday coffee shop in Northfield where he fine-tuned his coffee making skills and demonstrated his ability to form relationships through conversation. His formative years “on the hill” were enhanced through friendships that have endured.   

As a political science major, Geoff completed internships in the office of U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (ND) in Washington, DC, and the Minneapolis office of Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN) where he sharpened his strategic thinking skills and developed a love of public policy. There was no doubt that Geoff could debate the merits of any piece of legislation, pontificate about his favorite candidates and discuss election strategies for local, state and federal offices. Following graduation, Geoff worked at the St. Olaf Office of Student Activities, where he relished the opportunity to work with student groups to plan events and support the development of leadership skills.

He also held a number of positions in retail including Target, Gap, and The Kitchen Window in Minneapolis.  He also attended graduate school at the University of Minnesota seeking a degree in higher education administration.

Geoff’s love of movies started at a young age and continued throughout his life. His creative writing skills were on full display as a contributor to the podcast “Breakfast All Day” and through his frequently published movie reviews.  Geoff was a walking encyclopedia of movie trivia with a particular love of Alfred Hitchcock and James Bond movies. Combining his passion for social justice and the cinema, he held an annual Oscar poll where friends and family would predict Academy Award winners in each category and select a charity to support. The pool was then donated to the charity selected by the person with the most correct predictions.

Family was valued by Geoff and he eagerly looked forward to trips to the North Shore of Lake Superior, which became a gathering place for the family. Geoff always lent his legendary cooking skills to family celebrations, often using every pan in the kitchen if it meant achieving the flavor he wanted (much to his family’s chagrin on dishwashing duty) and eagerly shared the latest in recipes and cooking techniques. He enjoyed inviting friends to his apartment to share meals, debate the latest political issues and watch movies. Close friends would revel in his “cookie bars” asking for them for all kinds of occasions.  His love of food extended to his involvement in the Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association and the food share program for persons experiencing food insecurity.

He will be remembered by his cousins and aunts as a great conversationalist, always interested in others, learning about family history and sharing current events. He was appreciated by friends and family for his creativity, intelligence, and ability to connect with others. He had a sharp sense of humor, prolific writing skills, and innate ability to fix anything on a computer or device.   

Geoff is survived by his parents, sister Stephanie Swanson and her fiancé Michael Maragos, aunts Heidi (Bill) Krivarchka and Ann Clark (Mike McGinnis). He is also survived by cousins Christy Clark (Paul Simonson), Katy (Erik) Lunemann, Leslie (Nate) Reagan, Allison (Heath) Tupper, Jillian (Jess) Belling and Molly (Lyle) Sinner; godparents Kathy Grandall and Mike Grandall; a large number of second cousins, and a wide circle of friends.

He was preceded in death by his uncles Lynn C. Swanson, Mike Clark and Dan Retka; grandparents Dale and Anna Mae Swanson, George and Merredith Fowler.

Services will be Monday, June 13 at 2:00 p.m. at Calvary Lutheran Church, 1405 South 9th Street, Grand Forks, ND with visitation beginning at 1:00 p.m.  The service will be available via livestream on Calvary Lutheran Church website (www.calvarygf.org) A gathering of friends and family wishing to celebrate the life of Geoff Swanson will also be held in Minneapolis later this summer. Memorials are preferred to the Grand Forks Foundation for Education, Geoff Swanson Memorial Scholarship Fund, at https://donate.gffoundation.org/giving 2400 47th Avenue South, Grand Forks, ND 58201 or the charity of your choice.  He passionately supported World Central Kitchen for the humanitarian work they do in the U.S. and across the world to feed people, and the Trevor Project.

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