Pamela Schwandt died January 5, 2018, at her home in Northfield. She was 78. The funeral service for her will be at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Northfield Tuesday, January 16, at 11 a.m. She wanted memorials in her name to be given to the endowment fund of the Howard and Edna Hong Kierkegaard Library. They should be sent to St. Olaf College. Pamela Schwandt was afflicted by breast cancer: a lumpectomy in 2007, a double mastectomy in 2014, bone cancer in June 2017 and liver cancer in December 2017. She declined rapidly in the last week of her life, and would have said that she was blessed with a speedy exit. Pamela Poynter was born in Petersburg, was baptized in State Line Lutheran Church, and for the rest of her life was a daughter of that congregation. When she was eight, her family moved north to Redwood Falls, where she graduated from high school in 1957. She “went east to school, but didn’t get far,” only to Northfield. She graduated from St. Olaf, then from the University of Washington, and finally from the University of Minnesota. She learned Greek and did extensive research in the French debate about Homer to write her dissertation about an 18th-Century translation of Homer’s Iliad by Alexander Pope. In the last summer of her life, she found a water-stained copy of her dissertation in her leaky garage. She tossed it in the garbage can. So much for academic distinction and a well-received dissertation. She met Jack Schwandt, a fellow rookie teacher, in 1963, when they each joined the St. Olaf faculty. They married in 1965. Her only complaint about him, she said, was that she gave up three vowels for one when she became Pamela Schwandt. She remained Pamela Poynter in fact though not in name. No quarrels between them about that, and no hyphenated last name either. She enjoyed many visits, “but not enough,” with her husband to his home town, Enderlin, N.D. His friends became hers. When asked, she would say she was from a village so small it made Sheldon look big. They lived for the first four years of their marriage with Howard and Edna Hong, in more than one of the apartments in their enchanted house. It sits at the edge of town, next to a woods, and on a bluff that overlooks a creek. The Hongs were to be the friends of a lifetime. They also lived in London for a year, when she wrote her dissertation and returned there to live during another long academic leave. They once lived in Copenhagen for many months and were in Pisa, Italy, and Budapest, Hungary, for week-long conferences. In her Northfield life, Pam Schwandt was a lay minister at St. John’s for over 25 years. She lived by a lesson she learned from a retired pastor there, when he described his rule for hospital visits. “Show up, shut up, and listen; this isn’t about you.” She listened, and learned gratefully from the stories she heard from people in all walks of life. She also did this when she read novels and poems during her long reading life. Be still: listen and learn, especially but not only when you hear the Gospel. Her discipline, her rule. For more details of her story, visit She is survived by her husband Jack, two sisters, and other relatives dear to her. She is also survived by her daughter, Renee Marsh and her husband Patrick, and their children: Mercedes, Benjamin, Katie and Sophia. The family lives in Annnapolis, Md. Renee Marsh transformed her mother’s life and the mother her daughter’s. Arrangements are with the Benson & Langehough Funeral Home.