Cover photo for Johanna Swords's Obituary
Johanna Swords Profile Photo

Johanna Swords

December 6, 1923 — October 16, 2021

Johanna Elisabeth Swords passed away peacefully on October 16, 2021 at age 97. Johanna was born in Pirmasens, Germany to Gustav and Frieda Stock. She spent her childhood there with her two sisters Hildegard and Annefriedel. At age 14, she came to the United States with the intention of living and working with an aunt for one year. As World War II unfolded, travel to Germany was no longer allowed and she was unable to return to her family as planned.
Johanna enrolled in secretarial school and upon graduation worked for 0utdoor Life magazine. She was the secretary to the editor who wrote “Where-to-Go” articles.
While at a celebration at First German Methodist Church in New York City, Johanna met her future husband Herbert. They were married in 1946 and eventually settled in Cedarhurst, New York, where they raised five children. The Swords household was a busy one, in which she warmly welcomed friends and family from throughout the world as well as international students. She enjoyed being the 4-H leader for two of her daughters, teaching them how to cook and sew. Johanna also orchestrated family camping trips which included a 6-week adventure from NY to Utah and back.
Johanna was always an active member of the Methodist Church, particularly with the United Methodist Women. She participated in various capacities and levels of leadership and was involved in the interfaith women’s community.
Johanna loved to cook and made feeding a crowd look effortless. Her recipes were published and also live on in the family cookbook. Regardless of where she lived, Johanna planted a garden of vegetables, fruits, and flowers. She loved being an Oma and treasured the time with her grandchildren Chandra, Chloe, Kate, Alison, Leah, Galen, Tess, Alyssa and Susanna.
After Herbert retired, they relocated to Cincinnati where their oldest daughter Miriam Riker and her family lived. They thrived in their new home, actively participating and making new friends in the Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church, enjoying the cultural life of Cincinnati and living up the hill from the Riker family. She and Herbert also enjoyed international travel with their church friends.
Their final move was to Boulder, CO, to be close to their youngest daughter, Ingrid and her family. At Frasier Meadows Retirement Community, Johanna enjoyed fiber art classes, concerts, arranging flowers for birthday celebrations and the spiritual community.
Johanna was an affectionate, generous, and industrious person. Her kindness and acceptance of people of all walks of life will be missed.
Johanna is survived by her sister, Annefriedel (Theo Mann), children Lillian (Warren Nelson), Timothy, Ingrid (Richard Rohr), Herbert A., and son-in-law, J. Timothy Riker, nine grandchildren, three great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. She is predeceased by her husband Herbert, her sister Hildegard (Heinz Veigel) and her daughter Miriam (J. Timothy Riker).
If you wish to make a donation in her honor, please consider Habitat for Humanity at and Heifer International at To share messages, please visit
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Johanna Swords, please visit our flower store.

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