In Remembrance of John Swanson, 1961-2014

January 21, 2014

John Swanson, editor and associate publisher of Window & Door, passed away Sunday, January 19, 2014, in Manhattan.

The funeral service is Saturday, February 1, at 11 a.m. at Grace Church, 802 Broadway at 10th St., New York, NY. A reception will follow at the church, and all are welcome.

As we mourn John's passing, please feel welcome to use this memorial page to share thoughts, memories and condolences. 

In lieu of flowers, the Swanson family is asking that those who wish to make a donation in John's honor give to The Barnstable Land Trust. The Barnstable Land Trust is the conservancy organization that is responsible for acquiring and preserving land on Cape Cod, including the Swansons' beloved Lowell Park (home of the Cotuit Kettleers) and Eagle Pond, site of hundreds of family walks. "We believe that a gift to the Trust represents the convergence of the things that John most treasured in life: the Cape, open spaces, baseball and family," says his wife, Lee.

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I just learned of John's passing and that is perhaps also typical of his personality that he quietly but passionately worked in his field . . and his personal life that I did not know well. Over the past number of years, I had met John at a variety of US and CDN industry events in both countries. I found him keenly interested in a whole variety of fenestration elements in a very special way. Furthermore, we had developed a personal friendship that I valued and wished him good health as he fought the big C. I did NOT know that his fight was further along. All the best to his family . . "his industry" will miss him more than they realize!

As the marketing columnist for, first, FENESTRATION and then, WINDOW & DOOR, I worked for John for over 15 years. I could never thank him enough for how he helped me in so many ways. His friendship meant even more. John was a consummate professional and a cornerstone of the industry. Condolences to the Swanson family.

David Martin

For over 15 years as the marketing columnist for, first, FENESTRATION and then, WINDOW & DOOR, I enjoyed and appreciated writing for John Swanson. More than that, he was a friend who helped me many times and in many ways. (I couldn't thank him enough.) His wisdom, insight and loyalty were legend. His many friends and associates will miss him. He was a cornerstone of the industry. Condolences to his family.

Very sadden to hear of John's passing. When I started this business 15 years ago John was very helpful introducing me to advertising in the trade publications. He was always there if I had any questions or needed to express an opinion. It was a ritual for me to always seek John out at the trade shows just to say "Hi". I will miss him.

With the Greatest Respect,
Chris Kenyon, Kenyon's Stained Glass Factory

I first met John at the Fenterbau almost 20 years ago. He was truly a pioneer in the industry. There are very few orignals. John was one of them. My condolences to his family. May they have many wonderful wishes to cherish.

“Like the ripples in a pond, the work of one man can spread out and touch the lives of many others.” -(Author Unknown)
Our condolences to the Swanson Family, we are sad to hear that John has passed away dealing with him was a pleasure and he will be greatly missed.

From all of us at Building Drops Inc.

I am saddened to hear the passing of John. John always sincerely listened to you and shown general caring about this industry. I was was also fortunate to spend time with him in Germany during a sponsored trip and got to see more of a personal side of him as well. The way he was about his work for the indurstry smoothly transitioned into the overall type of person he was. My deepest condolensces to his family. John we will truly miss you.

The industry has lost a valuable resource. I always felt honored when John would contact me looking for a quote for an article he was working on. John was always a pleasure to work with - a professional and a gentleman. He will be missed.

Ron Crowl
FeneTech, Inc.

A true professional and industry leader. I interacted with him many times over 20+ years, and always enjoyed his thoughtfulness, integrity and humor. He had great insight, and his initiatives helped change the way the window industry looked at itself. My condolences to his family, friends and work family.

We are saddened by the news of John's passing. Condolences to your family, your Windows & Door family and Fenestration family. John will be fondly remembered for his kindness, generosity, fairness and passion. We are particularly indebted to John for his support of LaCantina Doors.

Benjamin Woo, LaCantina Doors, Inc.

While I did not know John personally, I have been the beneficiary of his good work for some time. I am praying that the Lord provide you comfort in this difficult time,
Keith Sitzler

I am very saddened to learn of John's passing. He was a quite, insightful, witty and very trustworthy. He really made his mark on our industry, and will be sorely missed!

I always enjoyed talking to John about the various trends and changes taking place in our industry over the last few decades. He always listened with a genuine interest about what you were saying and never uttered a negative word regarding anyone or business he came across. He was truly a wonderful person who always carried himself with honor and grace. My sincere condolences to his family.

Ken Lazer
Vision Extrusions

How can there be a fenestration industry without John? His depth of knowledge, compassion and insights will be greatly missed. For two decades I've come to rely on both John's expertise and to having fun with him at trade shows. While many in our industry are headed to Las Vegas soon for another Builders' Show, I wholeheartedly believe that the lights of that city will seem a bit dimmer,and the trade show aisles a bit lonely, without him there with us.

With deepest condolences to Lee and the children ...

Kathy Ziprik

We are deeply saddened by John’s passing. This is a tremendous loss on so many levels and to so many people. John had such a far-reaching effect on our industry, a profound impact on those he worked and connected with, and it is perhaps impossible to measure the void left behind in the lives of those closest to him. Our thoughts and prayers for peace and comfort go out to his family, coworkers, and all who are mourning him. Please accept the sincere condolences of our entire team.

John always wore a smile that instantly put others at ease, and he covered AAMA events with accuracy and integrity. That professional demeanor earned him the respect of our entire staff and membership.

We'll be pausing to remember John at our Annual Conference in February - an effort to show our appreciation for all John did for the industry.

Thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and the NGA staff.

Angela Dickson

John hired me years ago at Window & Door, and was not just a boss but a mentor, friend and above all a teacher. What always struck me was the fact that John didn't want you to just punch in and do your job; he wanted you to learn the business and love the business the way he did. And he did so with such brilliant, dry humor (Sample trade show conversation: Me, new at the job: "I can't believe there's this many people devoted to window parts" John: "You should go get a look at the people who eat sleep and breathe septic systems"), and yes, a willingness to pour a Wild Turkey and put his feet up when a long day was done. Salutations and farewells to a good man.

I first met John back when he started out in the industry, meeting him at his first AAMA meeting. He was always interested in learning more about windows and their differences. We corresponded regularly and always found time to spend a little time together at shows and meetings. He was "one of the good guys", honest, straightforward with great integrity. He will be missed by all who knew him. My deepest condolences to his family.

John was an absolutely wonderful person to work with - full of humor, honesty and integrity. He always took the time to say the right thing and do the right thing. So many people will miss John.

I have been remembering all of the good times I had working and traveling with John Swanson for more than 30 years and two shared employers.  Industry events like the AMD meetings when we could take off the afternoons, or the time John drove my wife, Lois, and me around Lake Tahoe.   I know Lois really enjoyed that, and so did I. I remember our trip down the Mississippi when the NSDJA was in New Orleans. I also remember doing EPCOT in the rain together. John and I went to a lot of different paces, and I always enjoyed his company.
I remember when John joined Ashlee Publishing.  Bud Glasberg may have started the first window and door magazine, which he called fenestration, tapping the Europeans for the idea and the name, but John was the one who really understood the concept and the market as its founding editor. I am not sure many people realize how hard it is to start a new publication, especially in an industry that did not have its own voice.
I always appreciated John’s view on the industry and his understanding of the business side of things. On every sales call I would make, his name would always come up.  Everyone appreciated his expertise in the market.
John Swanson was a real pioneer in the window and door market. I will be forever grateful to him for how he helped me to succeed as a sales rep in this industry.
Don Johnson, Johnson Media Sales, Retired

John was one of my first friends in the industry. I will always remember him as he was; a very kind man, dedicated to his job and devoted to his family. I was so sad to hear of this loss. My prayers go out to his family. John will be truly missed. Kim

I met John through AAMA - What a great guy. My condolences to the family. A sad day for the family, the industry and all his Friends
Sylvia Moore

John has always been a 'class act". Over the years I have written to him, talked with him and appreciated his total integrity and intelligence. The industry will miss him and I can't begin to express my horror and sadness to his family over his passing.

To the Swanson Family and the Staff at WDM,

I have never met John personally but really enjoyed reading his articles. One of the many reasons I enjoyed the magazine. I'm truly sorry for your loss and pray God will ease your pain. Thank you John. Rest In Peace.

Jeannie Frankowski
Owner of J.C. Lilly Windows & Doors
Chicago, IL

I've known John for over 20 years and he published my first article in "Fenestration". I have fond memories of conversing with John over the years to get his unique perspective on industry trends. The industry has lost a spokesman. My sincere condolences to the Swanson family.
Art Goldman
WFI Global

We've lost a key leader and advocate for our industry. More importantly we lost a good friend and co-worker. I benefitted immensely from Fenestration and later from Window and Door and John's work with us on the WDDA. John was fun to collaborate with and always a joy to be around. His knowledge was broad and deep and he communicated better than anyone else the key issues that impacted us. Rest in peace brother.

I knew John for less time than I would have liked. He was quiet, intelligent, well-spoken/written, trustworthy, and loyal. I enjoyed visiting with him and hearing his insights. I know he will be missed by our industry. He was a true champion! My prayers and thoughts go up and out to his family.

Having the pleasure to work with John over the last 13 years has been very special and rewarding. There was a quality that he possessed that was one of giving and a quiet demeanor that was always present. As I was beginning to work in this industry John had been the recipient of my too numerous questions, only to say “that’s not problem” and would contribute a profound opinion. Professionally, he was the gentle giant for his editorial and technical expertise. The unassuming and reserved attitude that he conveyed with all personal and business dealings was always a breath of fresh air. The contributions that John made to the fenestration industry will undoubtedly be the reasons for future growth of many new ventures. Here’s to the “Wild Turkey” man for being part of my life and making a difference, he will certainly be missed.

Mike Reier
Executive Publishing

Handled his battle with cancer with quiet courage and grace. Many of you have already addressed his contributions to the industry and his ability to summarize issues and keep us informed. We shared a couple of Wild Turkey's through the years at Forums and meetings.
Add my condolences to the Swanson Family.
Rick Jones

I worked closely with John nearly 10 years ago and he left a strong impression on me then. Compassionate, smart, soft spoken yet very attune and perceptive, consummately searching for good stories for his readers, and an overall really nice guy. I'm so sorry for his family and friends. A great loss.

John is the one who initially contacted me about writing my "Greetings from the Code Arena" column for Window and Door magazine over 15 years ago. I learned very quickly that I could trust John to never misconstrue the intent of my columns or take my words out of content. This made it very easy to write for him - because I knew I could trust his judgement and integrity completely.

John was always humble and insightful and one of the people I looked forward to chatting with at every association gathering, trade show or phone call.

John's gentle and caring nature earned him the respect of all he came into contact with.

My condolences to his family and it is with the greatest of respect I say "he will be missed"

John was one of the good ones. I will miss his laid back energy, deep knowledge, insightful writings, and vision for the future of the Industry.

However, I will miss his friendly face and approach every time I saw him - from trade shows to plant visits to late nights at AAMA meetings, John always made everyone feel special.

God Speed. May you be enjoying a taste of Wild Turkey and Cape Chowder in a better place.

Pete Chojnacki

He had a wonderful way of getting us to relax and share information with him. Yet, he would honor an “Off the Record” as a sacred trust.

If you sought his counsel, he would take the time to brief you, thoroughly and help you where he could.

His copy was always interesting and his perspective, invaluable.

Our industry has lost a great advocate…and we have lost a great and true friend.

My sincere condolences to his family, colleagues and friends.

Jim Ahtes

John was the "go to" guy for information & referrals. He will surely be missed. Greller & Company sends our deepest sympathy to John's immediate family as well as his extended NGA & Window Industry family.

We are deeply sorry for the Swanson family loss.
John was a humble and all around great guy. He was always pleasant and a positive person. The last time we spoke he expressed that he was "keeping up the fight". His articles were always a great read and held a wealth of knowledge.

A dear friend that will be missed.

Chris Cooper
Joseph Machine Company

It's been said that the good die young - John is yet another taken from us far too soon. My thoughts and prayers are with his family as they will struggle to find the new normal they did not seek. I will continue to remember John's kind manner, insightful observances and quiet listening - and his smile. Always, John had a smile. Can we say "he will be missed" too frequently?

I had the pleasure of meeting John several years ago and talked with him on several occasions. He was an extremely kind person and pleasant to be around. He will be missed throughout the industry. My deepest sympathy to everyone close to him.

Pete Williams
Chelsea Building Products

One of the most delightful memories I have of my time with the National Glass Association was working with John Swanson who served as editor of Window & Door magazine, and who was one of those magical people who have an uncanny way of bringing out the best in everyone else. He was a skilled wordsmith with a real sense of what was newsworthy and how to make it ring. He reminded me very much of two prominent writer/journalists I became acquainted with in Chicago – Mike Royko and John Coyne. Under his inspired leadership, Window & Door became a must read for everyone in the industry. But to describe him as a writer-editor does not do full justice to the range of his intellect and interests. He was one of those priceless “Here am I, send me” people who could be counted on to give a faithful accounting for whatever task he was assigned. I savored his company, enjoyed his wit and benefited from his wisdom. His lifespan was much too short, yet filled with accomplishments and wonderful friendships – one of which will always remain one of my proud possessions. I will lift a glass of fine malt whiskey to thank John for making my time at the NGA so enjoyable and successful.

David Walker

John will be were a good friend to me...thank you

It is rare when one person has such a large and resounding impact on an entire industry. John was one such man. I can honestly say being able to spend time with John over the past 20 years, both at work and out on the town, has been an absolute privilege. His professional leadership blended with his gentle, genuine, caring demeanor made him the gentle giant of the industry. John you will be missed but your impact will remain with us all.

My most sincere regards and condolences to friends and family.
JP Braaten, Westech Building Products

John was an inspiration to so many.
We can only hope he knew how many people he mentored!

John will be missed, as he was able to see the future of the vinyl window industry, His articles and thoughts were always postive and on target. He was much to young to leave us and the industry he loved, Having known John for many many years he will be very fondly remembered

John will be missed! Many great memories over the years, his wonderful golf swing which proved he lived in he big city and our last meal together in Toronto. My prayers are with his family.

Kevin O'Connor Brio USA Inc.

It has truly been an honor to have known John for many years. His reporting of the door and window market has been fair, balanced, and probing. I believe that all of us in the door & window market owe him a debt of gratitude for delivering stories that provided greater insights into the industry and thus helped shape our thinking and even had an impact on our decisions.

Lee, Ellen and Harry: we are truly sorry for the loss of your husband and father. You are in our prayers. Staff at Window & Door Magazine: your admiration towards John is inspiring and we pray that the Lord will bring you comfort during these sad days.

With humble regards,
All your friends at ProVia

John certainly enjoyed his work. The fenestration industry was his life, another member of his family that he loved so much. I will miss his soft spoken style of listening much more than speaking. Wanting to learn all he could about a company or their product. He will be greatly missed by our industry. My sincere condolences to his wife and family.

Chuck Scalzott
Vytex Windows

The entire BNW Builders family has your family in our prayers.

John was indeed a special person. Window and Door magazine was not work for John, it was his life, a part of who he was. I have nothing but fond memories of John doing what he loved to do. My sincerest condolences to his family. He will truly be missed by our industry.

I had the sincere pleasure of working with John on a window article while at MI Windows. I truly appreciated his attention to detail, along with his ability to be equally professional and personal in his interactions. Your presence will be missed!

I am saddened to learn about the loss of John. My condolences to the Swanson Family, my thoughts and prayers are with you. John was a friend and colleague of mine and my company, Purdie Rogers. John was always a caring, passionate and professional leader. Thank you John for all your contributions to the Window and Door Industry.

Warm regards,