Joy Swanson

Joy I. Swanson

Feb. 13, 1931 – July 11, 2020

Joy Irene Swanson, our beloved mother and grandmother, passed away at a spry 89 in her home in Buffalo. Joy lived a full and loving life, pursuing her passions and bringing light to the lives of her family and friends. 

She was born on Feb. 13, 1931, in Bowman, North Dakota, to Walter and Ellen Bagley. After graduating from Bowman High School in 1948, Joy attended the National School of Business in Rapid City, South Dakota. She loved the classes, being together with young people and going dancing. In fact, she met James “Blackie” Swanson at a dancing pavilion, and they married on Nov. 29, 1952. Soon after, they moved to Billings, Montana. Joy thrived working for Eaton Metal Co. and a law firm before starting a family and becoming a home maker. In 1975, Joy and James moved to Buffalo, where they lived out the remainder of their lives.

Joy was an avid gardener, cultivating her flowers and expressing her creative vision through beautiful landscaping. In the winter months, she pored over her sewing machine, producing her fashionable clothes, not only for herself, but all her daughters as well. She enjoyed bowling and continued to golf until she was 88. And of course, her baked goods were out of this world; she loved when family gathered around the table to enjoy her treats.

Joy is survived by her four daughters, Jan Swanson and her husband Pierre Holland, Julie Unangst, Jodi Swanson and Jolene Musselman and her husband Scott Musselman; her brother, Dennis Bagley; and her six grandchildren, Erik and Kelsi Unangst and Aubrie, James, Shea and Joe Musselman.

The interment service for Joy Swanson will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 23, at in Willow Grove Cemetery. Donations in Joy’s memory may be made to the Boys & Girls Club of the Bighorns in care of Harness Funeral Home at 351 N. Adams in Buffalo. Online condolences may be made at