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Accident takes life of former Abbotsford woman

Jennifer Swan - Submitted
Jennifer Swan
— image credit: Submitted

The daughter of a well-known Abbotsford family lost her life on Monday in a tragic single-vehicle accident near Hope.

A passionate teacher and athlete, Jennifer Swan followed in the footsteps of her parents, Jane and Gerry Swan.

Her parents, who were both teachers at Abbotsford Senior Secondary School, were key figures in the local track and field community for many years. Shortly after Jane’s passing in 2004, the city renamed the Rotary Stadium track as the Jane & Gerry Swan Track, in recognition of their contributions to Abbotsford.

Jennifer, 43, had taught in Abbotsford before moving to Kamloops more than 10 years ago, where she worked as a well-loved teacher at Beattie School of the Arts.

On Thursday, father Gerry said his daughter was a “rising star” and an “educational innovator” who focused on both the arts and athletics.

Jennifer and her brother Jason both graduated from Abbotsford Senior Secondary. She had been heavily involved in the track and field program – once named athlete of the year – before attending Brigham Young University in Utah on a track scholarship.

Gerry said it was there that she further developed a love for the arts.

She eventually got her master’s degree, graduating from Thompson Rivers University, where she studied dance as a tool to help autistic children overcome difficulties. Combing the arts with education “was her love.”

Gerry said he and his daughter would often discuss education and that she strove to be innovative, which led to her selection in Kamloops to be trained for the administrative program.

Jennifer and her husband Shayne also focused on educating their two sons, ages eight and 11, and making sure they studied hard.

Gerry said his daughter was a social person who had many friends and will be greatly missed.

She died in a traffic accident on Highway 1 between Chilliwack and Hope on Feb. 10.

According to the RCMP, her husband was driving their minivan eastbound on Highway 1 when the vehicle went out of control and into a ditch. Their two children were in the vehicle, but were able to escape with their father. Police said Jennifer had to be taken out by emergency crews.

She was taken to Chilliwack General, then Royal Columbian hospital in New Westminster where she succumbed to her injuries.

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