In Memory of Harriett Pearson Swager

In Memory of Harriett Pearson Swager
Last Portage

Harriett Pearson Swager

August 24, 1921 –  March 9, 2024

Halowke learned about Harriett in 1942 after learning that Harriett was trained as a riding instructor at Stephens College and asked her to come to Clearwater to be a riding counselor. After her first year as a riding assistant, Harriett was the co-head of riding for two more years.

She may not have known then that this new job would begin a family tradition of many generations of her family who would attend camp. This includes her daughters, Carol, Linda, and Joanne, and granddaughters Julie Vance (Parker), Leslie Vance (McClyman), Elisabeth Tullis (Schnieder), Sara Tullis (Wester) and great-grandchildren, Lexi Schnieder, Drennen and Ella Wester, Avery Parker and Tilly McClyman.  Harriet’s niece’s grandchildren also attended camp.

Linda A Tullis, Harriett, Carol A Vance, Joanne A Bowles


Leslie Vance McClyman, Matt McClyman, Julie Vance Parker Avery Parker, Happy, Kepler Parker, Tilly McClyman
Elisabeth Tullis Schneider, Harriett, Steve Jakab, John Tullis, Sara Tullis Wester
Great Grandchildren: Ella Wester, Lexi Schneider, Drennen Wester

After Clearwater, Harriett graduated from Stephens College and Northwestern University. She was married to John Altorfer from 1944 to 1976 and Eugene Swager from 1981 until his death in 2017. Throughout her 102 years, she was an active volunteer leader and philanthropist serving on many boards in Peoria making our world a better place. Her love of both visual and performing arts led her to establishing an endowment fund at the Peoria Area Community Foundation with her husband, Eugene Swager.

Along with her family’s legacy as campers, Harriett was a generous financial supporter of Clearwater from the initial campaign to make Clearwater a nonprofit in the early 2000s through her donations to help make our current master site plan a reality. She was also a member of the Halokwe Legacy Society naming camp in her estate plans. She firmly believed in the success of Clearwater and once said, “I’m proud of you girls keeping it going.” She was also immensely proud of her daughter Carol’s service on Clearwater’s board and knowing that more generations of her family would enjoy the beauty and fun of a summer at Clearwater.

A memorial service will be held at First Federated Church, 3601 N. Sheridan Road, Peoria, IL, 61604, on April 13, 2024, at 11 a.m., with a reception to follow.

Harriett was known as Happy by her family. If you knew her, you would know that was a perfect name for a woman who loved life and loved her friends and family bringing happiness to all.

You can read Harriett’s full obituary here.


Those Who Have Taken Their Last Portage: Clearwater Camp works to remember and honor those alumnae who have passed away. We learn about alumnae through the Clearwater network of family and friends, who may let us know or make gifts in their memories. For these tributes, we use materials including their published obituaries and other remembrances from family and friends. Please contact Clearwater if there is an alumna you would like remembered by the camp community.

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