Deborah Mary (Taft) Swarkowski died peacefully at her home in Cut Bank on March 17, 2021. Deb was born in Rutland, VT on February 24, 1951. Soon after she moved with her family to Essex Junction where she later attended Essex High School and then to the University of Vermont, graduating in 1973 with a degree in Education. She began her English teaching career in St. Albans before moving to the Albert D. Lawton School in Essex Junction. In 1979 she fulfilled a dream by spending a year teaching and coaching basketball on the Blackfoot Indian Reservation in northwestern Montana. She fell in love with the Big Sky country, but due to health issues, Deb returned to Vermont and resumed teaching at the Lawton School. A few years she transferred to Essex High School where she taught until her retirement. Then, with husband, Walt, she returned to Montana, settled in Cut Bank, and worked for several years of the law firm of Terryl Matt.
Deb was a respected teacher and colleagues with a keen sense of humor. She was a talented athlete who enjoyed life and its trappings, family celebrations, outings with her nieces, Brooke and Heather, summers at the lake with her life-long friend, Perri Crandall Cavanaugh and others, singing with the Champion Echoes, playing cards for hours, and taking care of her beloved animals. In 1981, Deb, received a kidney from her brother, Dave, and in 1987 she participated in the 6th World Transplant Games in Innsbruck, Austria, winning three gold medals and one silver medal in swimming. Deb valued her connection to the Blackfoot Indian Reservation, especially her friendship with Eloise Englund and her family. Deb and Walt loved taking road trips through the countryside; they searched for glimpse of Montana’s spectacular wildlife, and Walt almost had Deb convinced they might spy an UFO one day.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Walt, in November 2020; her father, Chester M. Taft; her mother, Mary J. Taft; and brother, James J. Taft.
Survivors include her brothers, George, Dave, and Jeff (Marilee); nieces, Brooke Taft Robbins and Heather (RJ) Taft Garrow; friend, Rick Robbins; grand nieces, Abigail Taft Robbins and Ryleigh Taft Garrow; grandnephew, Tanner Jeffrey Taft Robbins; and the family of Walt’s son, Eric Swarkowski.
The family wishes to thank friends, Judy Scofield and Sally Beebe, for their loving care and help and special friendship during Deb’s time in Montana. Due to the pandemic, a celebration of Deb’s life will be announced at later date. For those who wish, a donation in Deb’s memory may be made to the Vermont Kidney Association, PO Box 244, Burlington, VT 05402-0244.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Deborah Mary Taft Swarkowski, please visit our floral store.