Cover photo for Janet Lorraine Swenson's Obituary
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1947 Janet 2023

Janet Lorraine Swenson

August 2, 1947 — July 20, 2023

Provo, UT

Janet Lorraine Swenson lived life to the fullest.  She is a beloved daughter, sister, aunt, and friend of countless people around the world.  Janet was born on August 2, 1947, in Seattle, Washington to Floyd and Lorraine (Sorensen) Swenson. She grew up in a loving home in Seattle, gaining experiences that would shape her life both spiritually and temporally.   After dealing with illness for many months – with dignity and humor - Janet passed this part of her eternal journey very peacefully on July 20, 2023.  

In addition to being known as loving, kind, thoughtful, and funny, Janet accomplished a prolific number of creative achievements in her 50+ year theatrical career.

During her theatre career, she designed costumes for more than 280 productions; was the makeup artist for more than fifty productions; and the millinery designer for eight.  She went on two extensive USO tours to Europe and Asia; acted in more than thirty shows and movie productions; designed scenery; and directed a number of shows.

Professor Emerita Janet L. Swenson taught at Brigham Young University for thirty-nine years (from 1971-2011).  Janet taught more than sixteen different courses, presented more than forty-three workshops, and gave innumerable lectures. She served as Associate Chair of Theatre and Media Arts, Chair of Design and Technology, and Resident Costume Designer.  She designed over 150 productions for BYU alone, including musicals, operas, Shakespeare, film, and television.  The makeup curriculum that she developed at BYU is nationally recognized as one of the premier undergraduate education programs.  She also performed in sixteen of BYU’s theatrical productions.

Professionally, Janet served fifteen years as Resident Designer (and at least ten times as an actor) at Robert Redford’s Sundance Theatre.  She also spent nineteen seasons designing costumes for the Utah Shakespeare Festival.  

Other professional credits include costume design and/or makeup work for the Disney Channel, California’s Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts, Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, Donny and Marie Show, Donna Fargo Show, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, University of Utah, Skylight Opera in Milwaukee, Tuacahn Center for the Arts in St. George, Utah, Jackson Hole Playhouse, Hale Theatre, and she designed the costumes for the special presentation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the 2002 Winter Olympics, the “Light of the World.”

As amazing as her career accomplishments are, they pale in comparison to the relationships she developed - and the service she provided - to family, friends, and Church. Janet served in many callings in the Church, and especially loved serving as choir director.  Janet will be deeply missed.  But we can rejoice in our faith that we will see her again, that she is free of her physical limitations, and that she is having wonderful reunions with loved ones at this moment.  

Janet was preceded in death by her parents.  She is survived by her brothers, Paul and Curtis; sisters-in-law Shelly and Valerie; seven nephews and nieces – Jason Swenson (Lisa, Richmond, VA), Heather Moulton (Peter, Castle Dale, UT), Todd Swenson (Springville, UT), Joshua Swenson (Meagan, Lehi, UT), Justin Swenson (Angela, Mesa, AZ), Nicholas Swenson (Provo, UT), and Danielle Swenson (Salt Lake City, UT).  Janet is also survived by 20 grandnieces and nephews who adore her, and thousands of students who were transformed through her amazing teaching and mentoring.

Funeral services will be held on Friday, July 28, 2023, at 11:00 am at the LDS church located at 1222 Nathaniel Drive in Pleasant Grove; with a viewing held that morning from 9:00-10:30 a.m. prior to the services at the church.  Interment will be in the Eastlawn Memorial Hills Cemetery in Provo.

For those unable to join us in person, services will be streamed live beginning at 11:00 a.m. MDT on Friday, July 28th at the following link:  https://www.youtube.com/@wheelermortuary4570/streams

The family would like to sincerely thank the staff at Provo Rehabilitation and Nursing where Janet lived for the last two years, and the staff at Belle Vie.  They are angels and became friends and ‘family’ to Janet - and all of us.

In lieu of flowers, if you are so inclined, kindly consider a donation to Brigham Young University, Department of Theatre and Media Arts.  tma@byu.edu    801.422.6645

To send flowers to the family in memory of Janet Lorraine Swenson, please visit our flower store.
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