Cover photo for Leona Swisher's Obituary
Leona Swisher Profile Photo
1936 Leona 2024

Leona Swisher

December 8, 1936 — January 6, 2024

Leona D. Swisher, December 8, 1936, to January 6, 2024, was born to Alexander and Mary (Knopp) Gerlach in Burley, ID. Her childhood was spent in Heyburn, bossing around her four younger siblings (Doris, Gerald, Diane, and Duane), herding cattle on her roller skates, acting in school plays, and crashing through store windows with her friends. She attended Heyburn High where she graduated as the Outstanding Student in 1954.


After High School, Leona attended St. Anthony’s Nursing School in Pocatello. She began her career as a Registered Nurse in the days of the iron lung. Leona dedicated her life to the care of others and helped pioneer coronary and critical care in Pocatello. Opening, and eventually managing both care units. As such she was also a preceptor to many new graduate nurses and shared her skills with many through teaching and mentoring. In the final years of her forty-year career, she worked as an Administrative Hospital Supervisor on the night shift. Her career brough more joy to her life than she could have ever imagined.


During Nursing school, she was set up on a blind date with Matthew Swisher. He told her they had two options that night, “they could get drunk and be somebody or go to Vegas and elope”. They didn’t elope that night, but they were married in 1956. Together they had three children Cathrine Swisher, Michael Swisher, and Connie (Warren) Kline. Leona instilled her love of caring for others and strong integrity in her children. She was always proud of her family.


In 1995, her only grandchild Matthew Kline was born. Having a grandson changed Leona’s life in ways she could never have imagined! Thanks to his grandmother, Matthew, never had a babysitter. “Frick and Frack” as the family called them spent their time getting lost, making German noodles, and playing Matthew’s favorite game - spray Grandma with the hose!


The most important thing to Leona was her family and friends. In addition to her siblings, children, and grandchild she was blessed to have countless cousins, nieces and nephews, and close friends who brought immense joy to her life.


Leona was preceded in death by her husband Matthew (1930-1989), remaining a widow the rest of her life; her son Michael (1959-1997); both of her parents; and her sister Doris.


A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.


In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to the ISU School of Nursing or BSU College of Health Sciences.


Memories and condolences may be shared with the family under the "Tribute Wall" tab above.


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Leona Swisher, please visit our flower store.

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