Gene Howard Swanson
December 5, 1946 ~ April 19, 2013
Memorial services will begin at 10 AM, Tuesday, April 23, 2013, at Heritage Lutheran Church of Brandon, with Pastors Jerry Merkouris and Richard Gilman officiating. Full Military Honors will follow. Visitation will begin one hour prior. Private inurnment will take place at a later date at Beaver Valley Lutheran Cemetery.
Gene Howard Swanson was born December 5, 1946, in Sioux Falls to Howard and Dorothy (Rollag) Swanson. He was raised and educated in Valley Springs and graduated from Brandon Valley High School in 1964. He then attended USD until his enlistment in the US Army in 1966 for Viet Nam.
Upon his return and discharge in 1968, he resided in California for approximately 3 years. In January 1970, Gene married Reene Van Beek and their first of three children was born soon after. After experiencing a couple of earthquakes, Gene and his family moved back to Valley Springs, where he worked for Bauma Construction and the Brandon Lumber Yard before accepting the city Maintenance Supt. for Valley Springs in 1977. Gene mowed grass and plowed snow for eighteen years before he retired due to health issues. He also served on the Valley Springs Volunteer Fire Dept. for twenty years, including several as Chief. Gene met his sweetheart, Kathy Tupy, and in 1998, they were married at the Beaver Valley Lutheran Church.
Everyone who knew Gene knew he was a constant joker and loved to tease people. He knew everyone’s name around Valley Springs, their kids, and their parents and where they lived and how long they had lived there. Gene was a very active and busy person who loved to read, hunt, fish, golf, follow Nascar, riding and trial racing motorcycles, playing cards and travel. Road trips to Phoenix or anywhere else were a favorite pastime. Gene was also very proud of his service to his country and enjoyed going to Pierre to view the Viet Nam Memorial. His family was his most loved and prized treasure though. Wednesday nights were family night at his home and everyone came to eat dinner and play cards, Trivial Pursuit or Jeopardy together. “Papa” was also a “snuggler” with the kids and grandkids. The treat was to hop into bed with him and cuddle before going to sleep or when they first awoke in the morning. He was also known by the kids for his distribution of chewing gum.
Gene was a Lifetime member of the SD Fire Chief’s Association, Valley Springs Fire Dept, Valley Springs American Legion, V.F.W. Three Rivers Post 4726 of Brandon, and Spirit of Truth Lutheran Church.
Gene is survived by his wife Kathy; five children, Owen (Deanna) Swanson, Valley Springs, Zach Swanson, Currie, MN, Sony (Nate) Swanson, Garretson, Sarah (Donn) Loe, Willmar, MN, and Kevin (Delena) Tupy, Brandon; and twelve grandchildren, Taia, Curtis, Dominik, Danny, Savannah, Tyler, Molly, Gavin, Caitlin, Dustin, Maxwell, and Reyna; one brother-in-law, Larry Lape, Valley Springs; many special nieces and nephews, and one very special friend and second mother to Gene, Etoyle Aljets.
Gene was preceded in death by his parents, one brother, Randy, and one sister, Kathy Lape.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established.