Lois Jean Swanger

Lois Jean Swanger (Berkey), age 86, of Boalsburg and recently Philipsburg PA, went home to the Lord on March 9th, 2023. She was born December 16, 1936, in Windber PA to Irene Berkey (Thomas) and Wresley Berkey; she was the ninth child of eleven children. The Berkey's were a close, church going family. Lois graduated from Windber High School and moved to State College, PA in 1959. She lived in Lemont, Boalsburg and most recently at Windy Hill Assisted Living in Philipsburg PA.

She was a loving mother, wife, sibling and friend to many. She raised three children, served on church committees, was a Cub Scout den mother, and the participated in the Lemont Women's Club many years ago. She liked sports and bowled weekly for many years, including travelling to tournaments. She worked as a waitress at the Corner Room before her children were born, and at Elby's Restaurant as a prep cook after the kids were in school. She worked for Jostens yearbook company for fifteen years, where she enjoyed working with the graphics and school photos. She liked crafts and photos, which made her years at Jostens enjoyable.

She married Elmer Swanger in 1985 and welcomed two stepchildren and three grandchildren into the family. Lois and Sonny were happily married for 37 years. They have 8 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. Lois helped each family with new babies and delighted in hearing about her grandchildren's interests and activities. She had a deep connection with them all. Lois attended many sports events to cheer for her children & grandchildren, often wearing the team colors and cheering with enthusiasm. Just a month ago she attended a basketball game for her youngest granddaughter. She was a member of the Mount Nittany United Methodist Church in Lemont. There she sometimes sang in the choir, made Easter eggs or helped in the church kitchen for special dinners. She loved flowers and gardening, animals and especially her beagles. Over the years she and Sonny had 3 beagles, Megan, Daisy and Gilda. She liked bluebirds, puzzles, hosting family picnics and sometimes joining Sonny for hunting or fishing.

She was known for having a good sense of humor. She thought having a sense of humor was the best way to get through life happily, and for all those around her too. She was both quick to laugh, and quick to smile. She had a great love for her family and friends.

She is survived by three children: Trudy McCrea (Strapel) and husband John from Reston Virginia, Craig Strapel from Warriors Mark, PA, John Strapel and wife Melissa, from Winburne, PA, stepchildren, Joe Swanger and wife Sandra from Reading, PA and Virginia Wilkins (Ginny) from Bellefonte, PA. She is also survived by four siblings: Janet Kushto (Allen - deceased), Donna Koot (Bob), Marlin Berkey (Jean) and Mim Yoder (Harry - deceased), all of Windber PA. Lois had dozens of nieces and nephews. Along with her parents, she was predeceased by her husband Elmer (Sonny) Swanger, who died in 2022, siblings Bernice Ott (Fred), Leonard Berkey (Gladys), Neva Wise (Riley), Hobert Berkey (Jean), Olive Baker (Ralph), Florence Brick (Arnold), and others from the Berkey family. She is also survived by her first husband of twenty years, Ron Strapel of Warriors Mark, PA.

Visitation will be from 11 a.m. until 12 p.m., on Saturday, April 22, 2023 at Mount Nittany United Methodist Church, 1500 E. Branch Road, State College. A memorial service will follow at 12 p.m., at the church. A  luncheon will be served at the church following the service. 

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Mount Nittany United Methodist Church, on East Branch Road, or Windy Hill Presbyterian Village in Philipsburg, PA. The family thanks the staff and nurses at Windy Hill for their kindness and daily care.

Online condolences can be entered at www.kochfuneralhome.com.