Donald Haner Swanson died peacefully in his sleep on February 4, 2015 in Saint Paul, MN where he had recently moved to be closer to his family. Don passed 3 weeks shy of his 96th birthday.
Don was born on February 23, 1919 in Mitchell SD to Gus and Ollie (Hamer) Swanson. After graduating from Mitchell High School where he excelled in athletics, he attended and graduated from Dakota Wesleyan University. Upon graduation, Don took a job teaching and coaching basketball in Bryant, SD.
When World War II broke out, Don hitch-hiked to Minneapolis to enlist in the Marines only to return home to Mitchell to find out that he had been drafted into the U.S. Army. Don joined the Army and saw action in North Africa, Italy, France and Germany. While serving he achieved the rank of Captain, and was awarded a Purple Heart
After the war, Don went to work for his father’s business, Swanson Plumbing and Heating. On January 3rd, 1948 he married the love of his life, Izzetta McDonnell at a service in Montrose, SD.
Eventually, Don took over leadership of the business from his father and grew the business to the point where he was one of the larger plumbing and heating contractors in South Dakota.
After selling the business in the late 70’s, Don once again turned his attention to service. He was a member of and lead numerous public boards in Mitchell including the YMCA, Chamber of Commerce, Mitchell Home Savings and Loan, the South Dakota State Labor and Management Board and of course, his beloved DWU Board of Trustees.
Another of Don’s passions, which he acquired late in life, was golf. A bookshelf in his apartment still holds the seven trophies from his seven holes in one. He enjoyed playing the game in South Dakota during the summer and at his home in Mesa, Arizona during the winter.
Don is survived by his two daughters: Jane Swanson (John Flicker), New York, NY, Donna Swanson (Steve Veverka), Saint Paul, MN, grandchildren: Madison Veverka, Saint Paul, MN and Daniel Flicker (Chrissy), Atlanta, Ga, great-grandchildren: Sam Flicker and Wes Flicker, Atlanta, GA.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his wife of 59 years, Izzetta Swanson.