By Gerald Swanson
Jean, or Sis as everyone called her, was born in Silverton on March 20, 1932 and passed away in Denver, January 30, 2014.
A 1950 graduate of Silverton High School, she was the daughter of Irwin and Mary Dalla Swanson, the granddaughter of Silverton pioneer family, John and Domenica Dallavalle of the Tyrol region of Austria and Ironton pioneers and saloon owners, John and Katy Swanson of Sweden and Durango.
Sis was born at home, in a two-story house, on the corner of 10th and Greene, during a major winter storm. The roads were blocked going either way in and out of town. She was delivered by a mid-wife and her mother’s brother, “Uncle Herman,” who later commented, “Sis came into this world a screaming during a wild winter ‘San Juaner’!”
Sis and I were very close to each other, growing up in the old Dalla boarding house on Cement Street before our mother and father moved over to the Dalla Saloon (currently Villa Dallavalle) and opened Swanson’s Market on Blair Street.
We shared most everything, including Scarlet Fever, measles, whooping cough, tonsillitis and an occasional Nehi orange pop with two straws. When I was scolded and cried, Sis always cried with me. She was a very gentile, kind, and caring person. Sis was very active in school. She was a great cheerleader, dancer, and played better football than most boys and out ran nearly all of them.
In the 4th grade, Sis set her eyes on Don “Keso” Robinson, and once smitten, their love affair began!
Sis and Keso were married over 50 years and had four beautiful children, Don, Mike, Mary and Julie! After Keso’s military service ended, the family settled in Denver, where most still reside with a number of grandchildren and a great-granddaughter. Their oldest son, Don, preceded her in death.
Sis’s house was always the hangout for the kids and their friends. She had a big and Christian heart and always left part of it in Silverton when they brought their family back for holidays and summer vacations.
I will always hold on to the wonderful memories I have of the two of us growing up in Silverton with our families, friends and schoolmates!
God bless her and her family!