Evelyn Swanhild Halvorsen Monges 1936-2018 “Swanny”
Evelyn “Swanny” Swanhild Monges, 82, of St. Joseph, MI passed away on Monday, September 10, 2018 at Caretel Inns of Lakeland in St. Joseph, MI. Arrangements entrusted to Purely Cremations – Starks Family Funeral Homes 926-9440.
We imagine quite a celebration in Heaven as Evelyn Swanhild “Swanny” (Halvorsen) Monges was welcomed to her eternal home by her Savior Jesus Christ on Monday, September 10, 2018 . We can picture her joyful welcome as she was reunited in Glory with family and friends after a 10 year battle with Lewy Body Disease(LBD) and 5 years at Caretel Inns of Lakeland in St. Joseph, MI. A celebration of Swanny’s life will be held on Long Island, NY at a future time, yet to be decided. Swanny was preceded in death by her parents, Randi (Netland) Halvorsen and Gjeruld Halvorsen and her sister May Solveig (Halvorsen) Espeland. She is survived by husband Jorge Monges of Stevensville, MI(formally of Long Island, NY); son Cliff Monges (wife Paula) of Wallingford, CT; daughter Cyndi Monges Allen (husband Rob) of Stevensville, MI; son Danny Monges (wife Jenn) of Bremo Bluff, VA; grandchildren Russell Monges (fiancé Alexandria St. George), Mandy Allen Kahne (husband Nate), Jeffrey Monges, Sam Allen (soulmate Lauren Ralya) and Marcie Allen; two great-grandsons, Gavin and Cliffy Monges and two great-granddaughters, Brooklyn and Liliana Monges; along with loving extended family in United States, Canada, Norway, and Mexico. Defining themes of Swanny’s well-lived life are faith, family, friends (who she always considered family) flowers, festivities, and fun. She generously shared her gifts of service, care, and hospitality at home and at church. She cherished hymns (always playing them in the background, or plucking them out on a nearby piano) and relished summer camping adventures with family. She made life more festive by hosting numerous Christmas parties, arranging wedding flowers for family and friends, and expanding everyone’s horizons through various ethnic cooking phases. She loved sunshine which she captured, and scattered by adorning things with crystals salvaged from broken chandeliers. She orchestrated many practical jokes, some quite elaborate and laughed about for years after. Swanny was born to Norwegian immigrants on January 30, 1936 in Brooklyn, NY and spent her childhood in Syosset, NY. She started nurses training at Norwegian Hospital School of Nursing in Brooklyn, but was soon smitten by one doctor, a dashing French-Mexican, Jorge Mario Monges, from Mexico. Since dating within the hospital ranks was forbidden, she abandoned her studies. They married on August 8th, 1956. They lived in Brooklyn until 1961 when they moved to Long Island, NY with their three children, raising them in West Islip and Babylon. Having lost their mother in 1956, Swanny and her sister, May, stayed closely connected, spending much time together raising their children as close-knit cousins and making room at holiday gatherings and around the pool for extended family, visiting missionaries, and others needing a place to feel at home. Swanny and Jorge began their empty-nest years in a Bretton Woods condo in Coram, NY. They filled their days with family, friends and neighbors, enjoying water aerobics, growing and arranging flowers, church life, golf, meals, poolside fun, and shopping excursions, and many trips to Sanibel, Muskoka, Michigan, Virginia, and Connecticut. When changes in Swanny’s memory and reasoning became evident, plans were put in motion to make the move to Cyndi’s home in Michigan. She and Jorge had always planned to move in with their daughter, and there was great joy and anticipation about the move, in spite of the pain of leaving dear friends behind in Long Island. Sadly, Swanny was diagnosed with LBD shortly after the move. Symptoms include disturbing hallucinations, delusions, agitation, plus rigidity. She was among the first participants enrolled in PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) of Southwest Michigan when it opened in 2012. When the symptoms of the disease progressed and Cyndi was no longer able to transfer her safely, she was moved to a residential care facility. Cyndi spent hours early in the day and Jorge arrived late afternoon to assist with meals and “tuck-in” time at this home away from home for Swanny. Other family members visited when they could and, though difficult to see the dramatic changes between visits when months or years passed, everyone was thankful for the moments when glimpses of Swanny’s true personality broke through the confines of her LBD ravaged mind and body and she would look you in the eye and respond “just like the old Swanny.” While we will miss her, we are thankful that LBD no longer has her imprisoned. Special thanks to Sue Harmon, and Dick and Pam Malenfant who provided loving caregiver respite. [In lieu of flowers, consider honoring Swanny’s memory through regularly attending church and visiting people you know in residential care facilities. Financial contributions can be made in her name to your church’s missionary fund; an animal care organization of your choosing; or to Lewy Body Dementia Association, Inc. to support outreach and education services and promote vital research, 912 Killian Hill Rd., S.W. Lilburn, GA 30047, or online at https://31400.thankyou4caring.org/.]Print Obituary & Condolences