April 3, 2007 at 1:19 p.m.
Dick is preceded in death by his parents and brother and sister-in-law, Harlan and Eleanora Swenson.
Dick is survived by his wife of 39 years, Ardie (Pierson Bloom); daughter, Kelley (Tim) Chrouser; five stepchildren: Tom (Mary) Bloom, Doug (Vickie) Bloom, Wendy (Chris) Austin, Nancy (Mike) Miller, and Kathy (Allen Bernard) Bloom; 18 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren; and niece, Shirley (Bill) Hopp.
In 1931 Dick moved with his family to Prairie Farm where he attended school and was confirmed at United Lutheran Church. He was very active in sports and other extra-curricular activities and graduated from high school in 1945 with top honors.
Dick attended River Falls Teacher's College and graduated in 1949 with a degree in Secondary Education. His first teaching job was in Richland Center, Wis., where he taught and coached for only a year before being drafted. He served in the U.S. Army until 1953 where he spent one year as a cook in the Special Services Division at the United Nations Command Advance Truce Camp, in Munsan-Ni, Korea, where the final Korean truce was signed that ended the war.
In 1953 Dick resumed his teaching career at Mindoro High School, then returning to his hometown of Prairie Farm, where he taught and coached from 1955-1963. He taught one year at Stanley-Boyd High School before finding "a home" at Unity High School where he remained for 23 years, retiring in 1987 as the head of the Unity History Department.
A lifetime love of both history and sports were an integral part of Dick's life. He coached basketball for 41 years, track for 16, football for eight, baseball for eight and cross country for five years. He also was a sportswriter for the Ledger Newspapers for a few years in the 1960s.
Dick was one of the founders of the Unity Education Scholarship Foundation, awarding thousands of dollars to students for their post-secondary education pursuits.
The Swensons built their new home in Centuria, Wis., when Dick came to Unity, and they became active members of the community. Dick served on the Centuria Planning Commission, was a member of the Unity Lions Club, and was actively involved in the life of Fristad Lutheran Church, where he served on the church council for 12 years. Dick loved flowers and spent many years tending the gardens at the church. In 2006 Dick and Ardie had the distinction of being honored as the Grand Marshalls of Centuria Memory Days.
From 1977-1987 the Swensons were co-owners of Calderwood Lodge on Bone Lake, building it into a premier dining establishment in northern Wisconsin.
Dick loved to travel and traveled extensively in Europe and the United States, where he had visited all but three of the Presidential Libraries, where he could study more history.
A memorial service is Saturday, April 14, 2007, at Fristad Lutheran Church, in Centuria, Wis., at 2 p.m., with visitation one hour prior to the service at 1 p.m. Pastor Mel Rau will officiate. A private burial will be at Chisago Lake Lutheran Hilltop Cemetery, in Center City, Minn. Edling Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. In lieu of flowers memorials preferred to Unity Scholarship Foundation or Fristad Lutheran Church Foundation.
Dick Swenson will be remembered for his passionate teaching and coaching; for his gentleness, thoughtfulness and wit; for his voracious appetite for reading and sports; and for his "Jeopardy-worthy" ability to spew out statistics and trivia. He will also be remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle, cousin and friend.