Obituary: Kristin Ann Johnson, 1946-2021 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Kristin Ann Johnson, 1946-2021 

Enthusiastic educator spent more than 40 years teaching students with reading difficulties

Published January 6, 2022 at 6:05 a.m. | Updated January 6, 2022 at 5:39 p.m.

click to enlarge Kristin Johnson - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Kristin Johnson

Kristin Ann Johnson passed away peacefully on the morning of December 27, 2021, at the McCLure Miller Respite House. She had just celebrated her 75th birthday. Kristin was born in Minneapolis in 1946, the daughter of Dr. John and Polly Johnson. She is survived by her loving husband, Edward P. Swierk, who was an inspiring caregiver for the past three years during her final challenge with bile duct cancer. She is also survived by her brother Steve Johnson and his wife, Joan, of Kady, Texas, and their two children of California. She was predeceased by her brother Bruce Johnson of Brazil. Kristin especially loved traveling there to visit her late brother’s family, which consisted of four nephews and nieces and seven grandnephews and grandnieces.

Kristin was a lifelong seeker of truth who had a desire to expand her consciousness through mind-body awareness. As part of her spiritual journey, she practiced yoga at the Himalayan Institute in Pennsylvania. In addition to yoga, she pursued a variety of spiritual practices, such as meditation, diksha and life energy fundamentals.

In addition to her spiritual path, Kristin was an enthusiastic explorer of learning strategies and how best to help students with reading difficulties. She received an undergraduate degree from Northwestern University in sociology and a master’s degree in educational psychology from the University of Minnesota. After attaining her degrees, Kristin spent 40-plus years teaching students with learning challenges at schools in Illinois and Maryland, eventually settling in Vermont as a reading specialist at Champlain Valley Union High School. With coauthor Polly Baird, Kristin created a series of K-8 textbooks entitled Mega Words. She also opened a small business in Winooski as an instructor of “Brain Gym” and applied kinesiology.

One of her greatest loves was singing with the Noyana Singers, whose celestial voices comforted her during the last weeks of her life. Kristin also adored gardening and spent many happy summer days tenderly nurturing her lakehouse flowers. She also enjoyed traveling, playing the piano, kayaking, biking, dancing, skating and skiing. She especially loved viewing the sun setting on the lake from the deck of her home on the Georgia shore.

Sincere thanks to all the wonderful staff from the Home Health & Hospice and the McClure Miller Respite House. Also to Dr. Paul Unger and his medical team at the Champlain Valley Hematology/Oncology, who provided exceptional care; the surgery and oncology departments at Massachusetts General Hospital: Dr. Christina Ferrone, Dr. Jeff Clark and Dr. Ted Hong; Dr. Kumar Krishnan of MGH Interventional Radiology and the Interventional Radiology team at the University of Vermont Medical Center; Dr. Peter Cataldo of the UVM Medical Center Department of Surgery; and those dear friends and family who stood in loving vigil, both in person and from afar, holding her in their hearts during her final hours.

Kristin lived her life with integrity, grace and enormous heart. She brought a depth of presence and intentionality to all her pursuits, as well as a tremendous sense of fun and adventurous spirit. Her relationships likewise were blessed by her honesty, wisdom and heart presence. She will be deeply missed by all who had the privilege of knowing her.

A celebration of life will take place in the spring in Vermont. Details will be posted on Ed Swierk’s Facebook page and in the Burlington Free Press the first week of May. In lieu of flowers, Kristin and Ed would appreciate donations to Vermont Foodbank, 33 Parker Rd., Wilson Industrial Park, Barre, VT 05641.

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