Gene Howard Swanson

December 5, 1946 ~ April 19, 2013

Gene H. Swanson, 66, Valley Springs, died Friday, April 19, 2013, at the Dougherty Hospice Home in Sioux Falls, from the effects of Agent Orange.

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.

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  • Jerry Kerkhove says:

    Gene was a year ahead of me in the Valley Springs school system. I remember many enjoyable times we had playing baseball, football and basketball. Sorry that his passing was so soon. My sympathy and thoughts and prayers are with you at this time of sadness.

  • Ray & Carol Funke says:

    Our hearts and prayers are with you Kathy and families.

  • Michele and Nicole & families says:

    we are so sad to here about your husband, father, and grandfather. All our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  • kelly lemcke says:

    Sorry to hear about Gene, our family sends prayers to you and your family.

  • Cal & Darlene Johnson says:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Kathy & family. Will always remember all the family reunions we all attended. May God bless you

  • Bill & Audrey Geske says:

    Kathy & family:

    So sorry to learn of Gene’s passing. We hope your many happy memories comfort you during this difficult time.

  • Zachariah @ Shannon says:

    This is to a very special Dad. Thanks for always being there through the good & the bad. Life will not be the same without you but in our hearts we know u r in a better place n for that we r thankful!!! U r loved n will b missed very much but u will never b forgotten….. Love u Dad always n forever!

  • Robyn Tyler says:

    Kathy, Sarah, Kevin and family;
    I am so sorry to hear about Gene. I am sorry I won’t be able to attend the funeral, but my thoughts and prayers are with you all. Greetings and love to Jodie and the Hopper families. May memories bring you comfort in this time of Loss.

  • Heather Ault says:

    Many fond memories of Gene… Hugs to the family. My heart goes out to all of you.

  • Larry Johnson says:

    I was sorry to hear of Gene’s passing. He will be greatly missed by family and friends and the fire service. Larry Johnson Retired Fire Chief Brandon.

  • Merlyn and Kathi Bosch says:

    Gene will be truly missed. I will miss seeing him driving the small yellow car and sitting by the garage with Larry watching the cars go by and waving to everyone.
    Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends.

  • Barb Vanderlinde says:

    Good-bye old friend. Even though we didn’t see you very often, we seemed to pick up right where we left off when we did get together. Sympathy and prayers to Gene’s family. Bob and Barb

  • LeRoy Koopman says:

    We the members of Colton Fire & Rescue send our sympathies to you and yours. I knew Gene when he was involved with the Minnehaha County Fire Chiefs always had a good conversation with him. I’m sure he will be missed by a lot of people. Sorry I couldn’t be their today. LeRoy Koopman Chief

  • Gene was a great person to work with @ Valley Springs City Hall. He was maticulous and took great pride in his work. He was also a great friend. We will miss him deeply. May God give Gene his grace and mercy.
    Your Friends,
    Keith and Judy Morford & Family

  • Larry Johnson says:

    Gene will always be a friend and fellow firefighter. He will be greatly missed.
    Larry Johnson Brandon Retired Fire Chief

  • Chris Holmes says:

    Sony and family…my thoughts and prayers are with you in this difficult time…may memories stay close at heart…

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