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In celebration of Pat Swan

Patricia W. Swan, 87, a residence of Stoneridge Retirement Community in Mystic, CT passed away after a brief illness, surrounded by her family and friends on January 23, 2012.

She was born on April 21, 1924 in Malden, MA to Mary (Flett) Swan and Dewey Swan. She grew up in Bronxville, NY, moving to Greenwich, CT when she was 13 and attended the Greenwich High School. She attended Antioch College for a year then volunteered to serve in the (WAC) the Women’s Army Core from 1944 – 46 where she served as a wartime military meteorologist. After the war she attended Columbia University and earned her architectural degree in 1951.

Her first and only job was with Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, an international architectural/engineering firm, where she worked for 35 years. She began her career in the New York office where, in 1956 she became one of two women Participating Associates, and in 1970 became an Associate Partner, pioneering a path in architecture for women.  She headed a design studio at SOM which was organized like an independent office with a staff of 20 -30 people. She and her team designed glass and steel high rise and urban complexes for working, shopping, and entertainment that she called “people places” in her efforts to revitalize downtown urban areas in the 1970’s. A few of her noted projects included Toronto Dominion Square, in Calgary, Alberta and Denver Square in Denver, CO.

She traveled extensively for the SOM firm throughout Canada, the US, the Middle and Far East. Pat was instrumental in developing and growing the Denver office of SOM beginning in 1978, where she worked and lived until 2006. Pat was known and honored for her consistent efforts at mentoring young designers and architects.

After retirement in 1986 Pat spent her summers on Block Island with family and friends, in a home they bought in 1962. This building was the old American Legion Hall. Pat redesigned the building for family living, where her sister, Sandy Swan and family lived year round for 8 years, which the family continues to enjoy today.

Pat devoted her time to the arts, as both an artist, and an enthusiastic supporter of many others’ artistic efforts. She worked in pastels and oil paints. In Denver Pat chaired the Park Hill Art Association Annual Sale. Pat moved to Stoneridge in Mystic, CT in her 80’s. She chaired the Art Committee there, establishing monthly retrospective and group shows for the artistic community.

Pat is survived by her good friend Rose Mastrangelo, a brother William Swan of Somers, NY, a sister Sandy Swan Gensemer of Block Island and Boston, 5 nieces: Lorie Sava of Stonington CT, Cyndi Lage of Springfield MA, Amy Swan of Mystic CT, Pam Goller of Franklin MA, and Christi Skardon of Sleepy Hollow NY, and 8 grand newhews, 2 grand nieces, and 2 great grand nephews.

A memorial service will be held at The Mystic Congregational Church, 43 East Main Street, in Mystic CT on Feb. 11, at 11:00 AM. A Celebration of her life will be held in late spring on Block Island. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to The Mary Donnally Fund.

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