Sunday, April 13, 2014

Obituary: Gerhard A. "Gary" Swenson Sr. - Class of 1947

MADISON - Gerhard A. "Gary" Swenson Sr., age 85, passed away peacefully at his home, surrounded by his family on Friday, April 11, 2014. He was born on Dec. 16, 1928, in Madison, the son of Arthur and Lucille (McCann) Swenson. Gary graduated from Central High School in 1947. After high school, he proudly served in the U.S. Army. On Aug. 12, 1950, he was united in marriage to his beloved Donna J. Soden in Dubuque, Iowa. He held a variety of jobs throughout his life, including, produce manager at Kroger's, Jewel-T sales, Montgomery Ward and driving for Badger Cab Co. He went on to work for 35 years with the City of Madison, ending his career as a supervisor of the Eastside Streets Department. Gary loved garage sales, going to thrift stores and auctions. He also enjoyed playing softball, watching his grandchildren's sporting events and doing crossword puzzles. He was known for his great sense of humor and quick wit. Gary loved his family, meeting new people and having good conversation, but most of all he cherished his children and grandchildren. He is survived by his children, Rhonda (Ed) Skolaski, Gary (Mary Larson) Swenson, Jay (Laura Shirley) Swenson and Andrea (Timm) Bailey; grandchildren, Carrie (Jake) Puls, Caitlin, Kiley and Grace Swenson and Warren and Sydney Bailey; great-granddaughter, Alex Puls; sisters, Virginia O'Brien and Arline Mickelson; brother, Paul Swenson; two half-siblings, Christine Marking and Lee Swenson; and many special nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, Donna; his parents; and sisters, Phyllis Gillett and Grace Long. Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, at the RYAN FUNERAL HOME, 2418 N. Sherman Ave., Madison, with the Rev. Ann Fischer officiating. Visitation will be held from 9 a.m. until the time of service on Wednesday at the funeral home. Burial will be at Highland Memory Gardens Cemetery. The family would like to extend a special thanks to Misty Melchert, the staff of Home Health United Hospice, Jenni, Melissa, Dawn, Rachel and Sr. Georgianne and also to the Cardiac Unit at St. Mary's Hospital. Memorials may be made to Parkinson's Disease Foundation, American Heart Association, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation or the MS Society of Wisconsin.  

Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on April 13, 2014. Submitted by Michael Vahldieck (Class of 1968).

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