Helping Families and Friends Honor Their Loved One for over 100 years.

Harold R. Swanson

Harold Richard Swanson was born July 30, 1926 to Hjalmer and Hilda (Widstrom) Swanson in Floodwood, Minnesota.

In high school, Harold operated the family farm. Following graduation, he entered the Army in May of 1945 and completed his 18-month enlistment as a Sergeant in Ordnance Supply in Japan.

Harold attended the University of Minnesota, where he met the love of his life, Lora Willems, at a dance during a blizzard. They married in 1952.

Harold worked in education and agriculture business in Minnesota, Washington and Iowa. At Iowa Western Community College, he started the agribusiness program, which he directed for 25 years. Harold was passionate about agricultural record keeping and received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Farm & Ranch Educators. The rotational grazing program he started at IWCC received statewide attention. The Veterans on the Farm program curriculum that he developed was adopted nationally by the Veterans Administration.

Half a century ago, Harold and Lora bought a farm. It was a good experience for the kids to learn why he loved farming. Harold continued to enjoy fixing the equipment as well as hunting pheasants and deer into his 80’s Other hobbies included fishing, camping, gardening and woodworking. He was master tinkerer and could seemingly fix anything with supplies he happened to have on hand in the shop or garage. Long after others would have given up, he kept things working.

Harold loved people and worked to help others through his teaching, political activism and volunteering. He was a very active leader, both in scouting and in the Holy Rosary Catholic Church, where he was on both the Planning and Building Committees. He started the Knights of Columbus Glenwood Council. In retirement, he helped construct and restore the Glenwood Native American Earth Lodge, which he continued to maintain as groundskeeper.

His work hard, play hard attitude was apparent in all that he managed to fit into his 94 years. He was a wonderful dancer–particularly of polkas–and lived to socialize. He definitely lived up to his quote “it will be a cold day in hell when we don’t go out on a Saturday night”. In his final years, his caregivers became like family and by their grace, Harold was able to spend his last days in his own home. The family cannot thank Terri Stevens, Terry Amburn, Ann McGrath and Christy Moreno enough for their excellent care, concern and empathy.

Harold passed away peacefully in his home on Sunday, August 2, 2020. The evening prior he had a great big smile looking at a picture of Greg with a recent walleye catch. He is predeceased by 4 brothers and is survived by his wife of 68 years, Lora, his children, Greg (Barb) Swanson, Kay (Doug) Palmer, Ron (Deb) Swanson and Dave (Cathy) Swanson, as well as 10 grandchildren.

A funeral Mass will be held at a date to be determined. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Iowa Western Community College Foundation and directed to the IWCC Agriculture Scholarship in memory of Harold Swanson. Iowa Western Community College Foundation Office, 2700 College Road, Council Bluffs, Iowa 51503

Interment Glenwood Cemetery, Glenwood, Iowa at a later date.

16 Condolences

  • Mark & Renee Lutz Posted August 5, 2020 8:01 am

    We are so sorry to hear of Harold’s passing. Our deepest sympathies to the family.

    • Dave Swanson Posted August 8, 2020 9:20 am

      Mark and Renee, Thanks for your thoughts and concern. Thanks also for being great neighbors and taking good care of the farm.

  • Vicki Brosnahan Eckhart Posted August 5, 2020 2:19 pm

    Bear, Barb, Kay, Mrs. Swanson & family, my thoughts and prayers are with you all !! He had a long and happy life!! Thinking of you all.

    • Kay Palmer Posted September 2, 2020 9:50 am

      Vicki, thanks for your thoughts and prayers we appreciate them greatly. Your friendship from high school years and continuing to stay in touch with the family through Barb and Greg is treasured. Kay

  • Rakesh Sondekoppam Posted August 6, 2020 11:32 pm

    Hello Dave, Our sincere and heartfelt condolences to you and your family during this difficult hour. Our thoughts and prayers are always with you and all your family members.
    Rakesh and Latha

    • Dave Swanson Posted August 8, 2020 9:22 am

      Rakesh and Latha, Thanks for your thoughts and concern. Thanks also for being great colleagues.

  • Yasser El-Hattab Posted August 7, 2020 6:51 am

    Dear David I am so sorry for your loss .my deep condolences and sympathy to you and the whole family Yasser El

    • Dave Swanson Posted August 8, 2020 9:23 am

      Yasser, Thanks for your thoughts and concern. Thanks also for being a great colleague and making each work day a little brighter.

  • Andy and Maureen Russo Posted August 7, 2020 9:02 am

    So sorry for your loss. Glad you were able to be with him at the end.

    • Dave Swanson Posted August 8, 2020 9:24 am

      Andy and Maureen, Thanks for your thoughts and concern. Thanks also for being great neighbors.

  • Eldon Prax Posted August 7, 2020 10:11 am

    Dave and Family – Prayers and Thoughts to you and your family. Eldon

    • Dave Swanson Posted August 8, 2020 9:26 am

      Eldon, Thanks for your thoughts and concern. It is always wonderful to hear from classmates.

  • Tom Fine Posted August 8, 2020 7:22 am

    Harold befriended me when I ran for political office in 2002 and I very much appreciated his intelligent caring support. May God comfort all that mourn.

  • Jan and Jack Slupecki Posted August 12, 2020 11:48 am

    Dear Ron and family, Very sorry for your loss. May God comfort and bless you and all your family. You are in our daily thoughts and prayers. Love, prayers and blessings.

  • David Sell Posted August 12, 2020 6:56 pm

    Dear Lora and family,
    Harold was one of the biggest influences in many of our lives. We all loved and respected him beyond words. It was my pleasure and great fortune to have known such a great man. God be with you all.

  • steve winquist Posted August 14, 2020 7:18 pm

    Dear Swanson family, Very sorry for your loss.Have good memories of Harold as college Iowa Western. Steve

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