Our beautiful, sweet, and loving mother, grandmother and great grandmother, Doris Jean Nye Swan passed away on May 10, 2023. We will forever be grateful for her kindness, resilience, and ability to withstand years of teasing by all of us, most of all her husband, Miles reunited with her in heaven.
Doris Jean Nye was born in Jamestown, ND on November 2, 1928 and lived her formative years with her father Harry, mother Marjorie, brother Harry Jr, and sisters Virginia “Aunt Ginny” and Marjorie “Aunt Margy” in Powell, WY. She graduated from Montana State College (now Montana State University), where, as a Chi Omega Sorority member, she met Miles, a dashing Sigma Chi, who she married and spent the next 69 years of her life. As her grandchildren married, it was such a delight to see Miles and Doris swaying to the music as the longest married couple on the dance floor. Doris and Miles married on September 16, 1950 and moved to the ranch in Highwood, MT. Living across from her in-laws, Lillian and Torchy Swan, this “city girl” learned the ways of ranch life quickly. Under the tutelage of Lil, Doris gathered eggs, butchered chickens, fed hired men, cared for new-born calves in her entry-way, and hosted the morning coffee hour(s) with the ranch crew before the start of each work day. Much to her dismay, Miles kept hordes of paperwork on the kitchen counter, scribbled numbers on the back of every kitchen tablecloth, and never cleaned a dish. Treasured memories include the many nicknames Miles bestowed on her: El Doro, Heavy (she never was!), and The Great Destroyer (of appetites) and her bellow of “Miles!” when he dipped into her store of chocolates one too many times or he got to vocal at the Highwood basketball games.
Over the years, Doris was active in the Highwood community, serving as a leader in 4-H, Women’s Club, and Flower Growers. She helped her mother-in-law with the Charles M. and Nancy Russell home renovation efforts in Great Falls and worked countless hours for the Highwood school system, even as one of the girls’ first track coaches in the late 1960’s. She loved supporting Miles in his many endeavors, including his service in the legislature, Stockgrowers, and bank boards. Social activities were her greatest pleasure, and she never missed an opportunity to enjoy a visit or a party. Speaking of parties, Miles and Doris had a robust team of friends and business colleagues that they engaged with frequently and traveled with extensively. Her friends in “Bridge Club” were a constant source of fun, where they danced, occasionally played cards, and enjoyed many “high-ball” cocktail hours. A trip to Spain and Greece in the 1970’s kicked off Doris’ love of travel. Trips to South America, Europe, and all over the U.S. brought her much joy. Doris’ greatest accomplishments are her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and the bond she and Miles forged with extended family and friends. Countless hours were spent taking trips, visiting during holidays, at the cabin at Whitefish Lake and then Flathead Lake, and celebrating birthdays.
One of her greatest pleasures was attending her grandchildren’s sporting events, even hockey! Doris was especially close to Miles’ sister, Lila and Herb Pasha. They were not only business partners for over 45- years, they were the best of friends, a friendship that deepened when Lil and Doris took pottery classes and embarked on a late-in-life career as potters. Many adventures were had at the Highwood “Pot Shop”, including their final firing going off with a huge BOOM!
Doris is survived by her four daughters: Linda Swan, Lisa Semansky (John “Monk”), Annette Schipf (John), and Virginia “Ginny” Sullivan (Tom); eight grandchildren: Kirsten Brady (Dane), David Schipf (Hsiang -Yuan); Katie Williams (Duncan), Joe Semansky (Lisa), Rachel Kimm (Weston), Daniel Sullivan (Aubrey), Mari Sullivan (Jacob Duligall), and Cormac “Mac” Sullivan; and six great grandchildren: Matthew, Andrew, Benjamin, and Lillian Brady; Abraham and Elizabeth Schipf; and Miles and Henry Kimm. She will be dearly missed by all.
A service will be held at Faith Community Church in Highwood, MT on Sunday, August 13 at 2 pm. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Highwood Community Scholarship, PO Box 31, Highwood, MT 59450 or the Highwood School Foundation, 160 West South St., Highwood, MT 59450; donations may also be made through the Highwood Public School’s Facebook page.