Ruth Eleanor Swanson, 95, of Bowdle, SD, formerly of Redfield, SD, passed away on Monday, September 6, 2021, comforted by her family at the Bowdle Healthcare Center. Her funeral service will be 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 14, 2021, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Redfield. Reverend Brian Wasmoen will officiate. Burial will follow at Greenlawn Cemetery in Redfield.
Visitation will be from 5:00-7:00 p.m. Monday, September 13, 2021, at Hyke Funeral Home in Redfield. With a prayer service to follow at 7:00 p.m., the family will be present during this time to accept condolences. Arrangements have been entrusted to Hyke Funeral Home (www.hykefuneralhome.com).
The funeral service will be live-streamed to Hyke Funeral Home’s website under Ruth’s obituary for those unable to attend. The family gratefully requests that memorials be directed to Our Savior's Lutheran Church.
Ruth Eleanor was born to Oscar and Hilja Tynne Sivia (Anderson) Hukari in Frederick, South Dakota on April 2, 1926. Along with her brother Raymond, she was the daughter of first-generation Americans born of Finnish immigrants. She was proud of her Finnish heritage and often spoke of the Frederick community. She grew up in the Great Depression of the 1930s and became an adult in the war years which followed, something which, like most of her generation, influenced her character for the rest of her life, having faced the hard sacrifices of the time. She was educated in Frederick public schools and graduated from Frederick High School in 1944.
As a bold young girl, she learned to drive a Model A Ford on the gravel roads outside Frederick instructed by one of her friends. After high school graduation, she set off on her own and studied business in Aberdeen. Her first job was with the South Dakota Wheat Growers, and she also worked at an investment company. She was quite fond of saying that her oldest granddaughter also started her career working at the South Dakota Wheat Growers. Fun times were spent during those years with single friends at ball games, dances, and traveling.
On the way to a friend’s wedding, she met Carl Swanson, a man of Swedish heritage who farmed near Frankfort, South Dakota. They were married in November 1955. She became a farm wife and settled on the Swanson Farm north of Frankfort. She and Carl were blessed with four boys and a daughter who they raised on the farm, and together, they instilled the habits of discipline, hard work, and honor in their children. She was an integral part of a family farm, supporting her husband through good times and bad. Together they welcomed new members into the family when their sons David and Kenneth married and later Karen as well. They also enjoyed grandchildren who were always welcome in Grandma’s kitchen and home. Carl died in 1989, and Ruth continued to live on the farm for several years.
She then moved to her childhood home in Frederick and remodeled it. She enjoyed her years in Frederick with visits with old and new acquaintances. She moved back to Redfield in 2006 to be closer to family, and she once again made herself at home in the church and social community. She would often drive out to the family farm to follow the daily routines of her sons and grandsons, many times helping with cooking and washing dishes.
Her faith was strong throughout her life, starting with baptism and continuing with confirmation at Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church in Frederick. After her marriage, she was a loyal member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Redfield and participated in the women’s circles and other church activities. She was an integral person in the committee to organize the first church cookbook. Together with her husband, she instilled this faith in her children, who almost every Sunday, sat in the front pew of the church when they were growing up.
She was a very social person and enjoyed the Harmony Social Club and many other organizations throughout the years. She would always have time for a cup of coffee and spending time with friends – friendship bringing special meaning to her life. She cherished her friendships, both new and old. Some of her favorite pastimes were going to senior citizen's dances, community concerts, and quilting. Watching and listening to Lawrence Welk and the Twins were also pastimes which she enjoyed. Her Finnish spirit of “Sisu” (roughly translated to grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness) sustained her throughout her life.
Ruth is survived by her daughter-in-law, Kathi Swanson of Frankfort, SD, her son Duane of Stockholm, Sweden, her son Kenneth and his wife Penny of Redfield, SD, and her son Wesley of Frankfort, her daughter Karen and her husband Derrick Walz of Bowdle, SD. She is also survived by her beloved grandchildren: Natasha Swanson, Amanda (Dominic) Evans, Andrew (Noelle) Swanson, Samantha (Cole O’Daniel) Swanson, Anthony (Kayla) Swanson, Emily (Ryan Brick) Hoekman, Abby Jo (Matt) Gjernes, Garret Swanson, Kirstin Walz, Josie Walz, Grace Walz, and Dawson Walz. Among her other survivors are her 18 treasured great-grandchildren, sister-in-law Elsie Miller and many dear nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, her parents, her brother Raymond, and her son David. She was also preceded in death by her mother- and father-in-law, sisters-in-law, and their husbands.
To send flowers to Ruth's family, please visit our floral store.
Our Savior's Lutheran Church
1514 E 1st Street, Redfield SD 57469