Donald Swanson, 64Donald ("Donnie"/"Swany") Swanson, 64, of Old Frontenac, died peacefully at home on Thursday, June 14, following an 8-year battle with cancer.
Donald ("Donnie"/"Swany") Swanson, 64, of Old Frontenac, died peacefully at home on Thursday, June 14, following an 8-year battle with cancer.
Mr. Swanson was born in Red Wing, Minn., on Feb. 25, 1948, to Walter and Dorothy Swanson. His ancestors emigrated from Sweden in 1855 and settled in Vasa Township. In 1861, his family received 160 acres of good farmland when President Abraham Lincoln signed their deed under the Homestead Act. Don cherished family farm life and continued to farm the land for many years along with working for Northern States Power/Xcel Energy. He is a member of the Vasa Lutheran Church where he attended elementary school and received many ribbons as a Vasa Christian Ridge Rider. He enjoyed annual family trips to the Minnesota State Fair and was thrilled in 1963 when he was awarded a blue ribbon for his yearling Angus heifer.
He graduated in 1966 from Central High School in Red Wing. In 1968, he graduated from Saint Paul Vocational Technical School as a machinist. In 2006, after 32 years working at the NSP Red Wing Steam Plant as a machinist/welder, he retired. Don worked with many wonderful people throughout his career, which he thoroughly enjoyed. Don was gifted with the ability to fix practically anything. He loved his workshop, garden and bird watching, but most of all he enjoyed his time in the backwaters fishing or observing wildlife. Every day he smiled with a zest for life and never complained. Everyone who knew him will most certainly miss his ability to make them laugh with his clever wit and sense of humor. His cheerful positive attitude remained throughout his entire lifetime. Donald valued friendships and was grateful to be surround by them at all times. He was very kind-hearted and always willing to help others.
In 1970 he married Linda Henn, who died in 1999. In 2000, he married Andrea Bieri Fenske and moved to Old Frontenac. They enjoyed wilderness camping and hiking in many National and State Parks around the country including Hawaii and Alaska. They also enjoyed traveling to Australia, Vanuatu, Spain and Mexico. Of all the places he traveled he considered the Bluff Lands around Lake Pepin the most beautiful.
Survivors include his wife Andrea of Old Frontenac; children Cale and Charessa both from Red Wing; step-daughters Teresa (John) Fanucci of East Bethel, and Emily Fenske of Denver, Colo.; siblings Marilyn (Marshall) Burke of Hudson, Wis., Janet (Michael) Anderson, and Douglas Swanson both from Minneapolis; and his grandchildren Alanna, Brenna and Mason.
He was preceded in death by his parents and wife Linda.
In remembrance, make someone laugh, do something special with a friend or family member, give back to your community, or lend a helping hand to others. Have fun and laugh along the way.
A celebration of life to honor Donald for all the things he has given us, shared with us, and for all the wonderful memories he leaves with us, will be held at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, June 20, (the Summer Solstice) at the Frontenac Sportsman's Club, with Pastor Michael Dobbins officiating. Honorary pallbearers are Victor Fechter, Neal Safe and Thomas Lindrud.
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