Window & Door’s John Swanson Passes Away

Window & Door
January 22, 2014

John Swanson, editor and associate publisher of Window & Door, passed away on Sunday, January 19, 2014, in Manhattan. He was 52 years old.

John started his publishing career at Ashlee Publishing in New York City in 1984. He was founding editor of fenestration, launched in 1987, the first North American magazine specifically targeting the residential window and door market. There he orchestrated the magazine’s rapid growth and success until he left in 1999 to join the National Glass Association.

As editor/associate publisher of the national trade group’s magazine, then named Window & Door Fabricator, John continued to serve the industry with his insightful commentary and editorial and strategic direction for another 14 years.

John continued to contribute to Window & Door during 2013 as he battled throat cancer. Together with the Window & Door editorial team, he did the advance work for another trademark industry list: “The Top Specialists,” which will be published in the magazine this Spring.

Over a decade ago, John rebuilt the magazine’s circulation to reflect true vertical integration. His efforts to champion  independent window and door dealers, especially, gave rise to the Window & Door Dealers Alliance, an initiative of the National Glass Association. The WDDA leadership continued to draw on John’s industry knowledge and connections as it grew and launched targeted events such as the Window & Door Dealers Forum.

In his inaugural “Opening Remarks” column in Window & Door’s February/March 1999 issue of the Top 100 Manufacturers, John wrote about his beginnings in the industry: “When I got started, people didn’t quite understand what I was saying when I said our magazine is devoted to the window and door industry. Wood window and door manufacturers said they were in the millwork business. Replacement window manufacturers said they were in the vinyl business, and aluminum window manufacturers saw themselves in the aluminum products business. That has definitely changed.”

John was there every step of the way to describe, and often predict, the changes to come. “John's insightful way of sharing a story with his audience was done in a manner that showed not only his professionalism, but also his passion for this industry,” says Matt Kottke, marketing communications manager, Truth Hardware. “To me, John's legacy will be that of quiet, caring, and professional leader who, through his gifts, helped keep an industry informed and engaged.”

John is survived by his wife, Lee, and children, Ellen and Harry, of Manhattan; his mother, Anne of Cotuit, MA and two sisters, Joy and Gail.

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 Grace Church. All are welcome.

A memorial page for remembrances is available here:

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.