Kenneth Swanson, age 88, of Ivanhoe, Minnesota, passed away peacefully with his wife at his side on Saturday, July 27, 2019, at the Divine Providence Health Center in Ivanhoe, Minnesota. Memorial Service will be 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 31, 2019, at Bethany-Elim Lutheran Church in Ivanhoe. Interment will follow in the Lincoln Icelandic Lutheran Cemetery, rural Ivanhoe. Traditional Visitation will be held Tuesday, July 30, 2019 from 4:00 – 7:00 PM at Bethany-Elim Lutheran Church in Ivanhoe with a Prayer Service beginning at 7:00 PM. Visitation will continue one hour prior to the service on Wednesday, again at the church.
Kenneth Lee Swanson was born on February 2, 1931, in Hendricks, Minnesota to parents Alfred and Johanna (Gudmundson) Swanson. He was the youngest of four boys and was the first child in his family to be born in a hospital. He was baptized and confirmed at Lincoln Lutheran Church (the Icelandic Church) in rural Ivanhoe. He grew up on the family farm in Section 27 of Limestone Township, attended Country School District 45 through the eighth grade, and graduated from Ivanhoe High School in 1949.
Ken married Joyce Richmond on December 2, 1962, in Arco. They had two children, Kevin and Kristi. Ken was Joyce’s loving caregiver prior to her death in 1989 from ALS. Ken married Margaret Nelson Andrzejek on December 22, 1991, in Ivanhoe. In his later years, Ken was often heard to say, “I was blessed with two good wives!”
Ken was a lifelong farmer and dedicated caretaker of land and livestock. His day-to-day work provided not only his family’s livelihood, but also his enjoyment and fulfillment. He watched the weather religiously, was a careful bookkeeper, worried when necessary, and had the great faith and optimism often required of farmers. He was proud of the Swanson family’s “Century Farm” recognition in 2014.
Ken loved to talk with long-time friends and relatives or strike up a conversation with someone he just met. He enjoyed camping with family and friends in the old green school bus camper. And he never turned down a cup of coffee and a visit around the kitchen table.
Community involvement was a priority of Ken’s, which he demonstrated through service on the Ivanhoe School Board (18 years), the Divine Providence Hospital Board (in its organizational stage and thereafter), the Community First Bank Board, and numerous local school committees. For many years, he volunteered at the National Jerry Lewis Telethons.
Lincoln Lutheran Church (the Icelandic church) was Ken’s first church home, and he later served on its Cemetery Association for many years. After Ken and Joyce married, they became active members of the Bethany-Elim Lutheran Church family. Since his marriage to Margaret, they have enjoyed attendance at both Bethany-Elim and Cornerstone United Methodist Church in Marshall.
After a lifetime in Limestone Township, Ken entered Marshall’s Boulder Creek Memory Care in February of 2016 and moved to Divine Providence Health Center on July 16 of this year.
Ken is survived by his wife, Margaret Swanson of Ivanhoe; son, Kevin (Deb) Swanson of Ivanhoe; daughter, Kristi Kropp of Wabasha; step-daughter, Elizabeth Taylor (Chad Meester) of Ivanhoe; six grandchildren, Andrew (Bridgette) Swanson of Ivanhoe; Emily (Riley) Engbarth of Ivanhoe; Connor Kropp of Wabasha, Rachel Kropp of Wabasha, Zachary Taylor of Barhamsville, VA, Zoe (Will) Sanderson of Camp LeJeune, NC; and great-grandson, Owen Swanson, who represents the fifth generation of the family in Limestone Township. He is also survived by many extended family and friends who loved him dearly.
He was preceded in death by his parents; first wife, Joyce; three brothers, Raymond, Carroll, Leslie; sister-in-law, Arleen Swanson; and son-in-law, Michael Kropp.