Tara Lynn Swank, 47
Our sweet daughter, Tara, was a most wonderful Heaven-sent-gift whom God specially gifted to Donald and Patricia (Shively) Swank, on Sept. 17, 1970, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. After a nearly six-year battle with stage 4 breast cancer, her Savior, Jesus Christ, sent His angels to tenderly carry her into His loving arms on Dec. 12, 2017. Tara left her family and this world with a glowing countenance, and the most beautiful, radiant smile! We know that her little brother, Drew, was there to welcome his big sister with one of his famous hugs and a, “Love ya!”
As a young school girl, our precious Tara accepted God’s gracious gift of new and eternal life in Christ. Our family joyfully looks forward to the day we will all be united again with Tara and Drew in Heaven, on what will be the “perfect day” in the presence of our Lord.
The saying, “Good things come in small packages” would describe our petite Tara, all 105 pounds. and 5 foot, 1/8-inch of her. For her size, however, Tara had a much larger presence. There are so many words to describe our little “copper-top”: driven, giving, feisty, caring, busy, tenacious, loving, goal-oriented, fun, adventurous, organized (Type A), fiery, nurturing, fashionista, girly, well put-together, professional, hard-worker, wise, dog-lover (especially Boston Terriers), absolutely beautiful, and her siblings might even say bossy (that is the job of the oldest).
Tara worked very hard to get her dream job as a nurse practitioner. She loved working and providing GREAT and over-and-above, compassionate care to all her patients. When she wasn’t at her dream job, she LOVED so many pastime activities which include traveling, playing the flute, going to concerts or art displays, lunch dates with friends, cooking, watching chick-flicks and the Hallmark Channel (Mr. Darcy, of Pride and Prejudice, was the GOLD standard), shopping, health and fitness and buying gifts for others.
Born and raised in North Idaho, Tara found her freedom in the outdoors and enjoyed snowshoeing, hiking, camping, beach time and going on long walks or runs with her “walking-buddies.” As the oldest of seven siblings, Tara was a leader. She was constantly looking out for her younger siblings. Just two weeks before her passing, Tara was in the kitchen testing different soup options for Christmas Eve, to see which one everyone would like the most. Christmas was one of her favorite times of year. It brought her so much joy to watch the nieces and nephews open all her presents. Shortly after opening them, she would require an immediate dress fitting, so she could see all the cute outfits on them.
God spent the rest of Tara’s life in this world growing a strong spirit and a heart filled with compassion to help and serve others. Even when she was the one needing to be cared for, she was still more concerned about her family and taking care of others. In her hardest times, when fear and pain would overcome her, she would turn to God and His word to comfort and strengthen her. Tara’s unwavering faith is what kept her going to finish the race.
At nine months old, Tara was already up on her feet walking and ready to go. That same drive stayed with her all the way through her adult years. One of Tara’s many passions was education. She attended Grace Bible Academy through her elementary years and finished her high school years through home school, where she graduated in 1988. Always having a desire to serve others, Tara immediately enrolled into Spokane Community College to obtain her certification in Dental Assisting (1991-1993). Shortly after graduation, she landed her first job at Dr. Vincent Rossi’s dental office in Hayden, Idaho, where she made lifelong friends and grew her love for patient-centered care (1993-2000).
In 1999, Tara was given the opportunity to teach dental assisting at Apollo College in Spokane, Wash. During the four years she taught at Apollo, Tara left an impact on many of her students to strive to do their best and challenged them to be advocates for their patients. Wanting to further her passions, Tara enrolled in 2003 at North Idaho College, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with her associates of science in nursing. Being so goal-oriented, Tara quickly enrolled at Lewis Clark State College to finish her bachelors of science in nursing the same year.
As a Registered Nurse, Tara moved to Ann Arbor, Mich. to begin her career at University of Michigan Health Systems. Tara thrived through the five years she worked as a critical care nurse at U of M, and gained many friends whom she considered her Michigan family. During her time there, she expanded her education and received special training to manage CVVHD and ECMO support to critical patients.
Being a native to North Idaho, Tara moved back home in 2008 to pursue further education and be home with family. She started in Gonzaga’s certified registered nurse anesthetist program in 2008, and switched to the nurse practitioner program later, due to fitting her lifestyle better. All the while, she worked full-time at Spokane Valley Medical Center during her schooling. In 2014, Tara graduated from Gonzaga with her masters of science in nursing. Later that year, Tara got her dream job at Radia Inc. at Rockwood Health System, performing interventional radiology procedures. She was always striving for more knowledge, experiences, and adventures!
Survivors include her father, Don Swank, and mother, Patti (Shively) Swank, of Hauser Lake, Idaho; sisters, Nikki (Matt) Albright, Liberty Lake, Wash., Tammy (Jed) Bergom, Spokane Valley, Wash., Rowee (Sam) Poston, Spokane; brothers, Luke Swank (fiancée Julie), Post Falls, Idaho, Judd Swank, Hauser Lake, Idaho and Tim Swank, Hauser Lake; nieces, Brynn, Riona, and Raina Lynn Albright and Noelle Drew Bergom; nephews, Boden Albright and Brently and Everett Bergom; step-nieces, Kayla and Emily, and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
She was preceded in death by her brother Andrew “Drew” Swank (17 years old), and grandparents, Don Shively, Emogene (Shively) Bessette, Don E. Swank and Wilma (Weyer) Ferrell.
Tara, you are ALWAYS in our hearts and it will be ALWAYS 8!!! Hug our Drew for all of us! We will miss you so much!!! Love ya!
As a family we would like to extend a HUGE thank you to all who helped Tara in these last six years of her battling cancer. She received overwhelming support at some of her most challenging times through this battle. She was here as long as she was because of her strong, fighting spirit, and the support of loved ones. Thank you to ALL who were able to be by her and our family’s side for Tara’s last week on this earth. To all the doctors and nurses who fought at Tara’s side — THANK YOU! Her cancer medication that was working, has been donated to Cancer Care Northwest to help someone else who is fighting cancer. There are not enough words of the gratitude we have for the prayers, help, and support everyone has sent. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
Memorial Service Info
Please come and join us in celebrating Tara’s life at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017 at Lake City Church, 6000 N. Ramsey Road, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (across from Lake City High School).
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. II Timothy 4:7
In lieu of sending flowers, the family has asked to donate to a person(s) in need in your local community in Tara’s honor.