Herb and his mirror image twin brother, Hubert, were born at DeLand, FL on May 4, 1926, to Thurman and Alma (Lunos) Swift. When they were just a few months old the family moved to rural Crookston. The Swift household would eventually grow to embrace 11 children. Herb was baptized and confirmed at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Crookston and attended Crookston schools. At the age of 16 he and Hubert moved to Chardon, OH where they continued their education.
Together the 2 boys left school during their senior year on May 13, 1944 to enlist in the US Navy during WWII. Herb’s tour of duty included serving aboard the USS Cockrill, which sailed from the port at Sampson, NY and the USS Charleston, which was based at Portland, ME. At different times he participated in the Pacific and Atlantic Theaters of Operations. Hubert served aboard the USS Warrington. Very sadly, Hubert perished when his ship, the USS Warrington sank on September 13, 1944 during a hurricane in the Atlantic. Upon Herb’s honorable discharge from the Navy on May 28, 1946, a grateful nation awarded him the US Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, and the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal. He went back to Ohio where he received his High School Diploma from Solon High School in Solon, OH. Herb remained in Ohio for a few years before returning to Crookston. He started working as a carpenter for local contractors and before long began courting a young lady by the name of Elores Marie Swiers who had come to Crookston from the Bejou-Mahnomen, MN area to live and work. The two sweethearts were united in marriage on June 25, 1955, at the Christian Reformed Church in Bejou. Their union would be blessed by the births of daughter, Susan, and son, William. In 1963 came a brief move of several months to Montrose, CO while Herb worked on a construction project there. Upon returning to Crookston, he became a member of the local United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America Union, headed by his brother, Hugh. Herb was a gifted carpenter who could do it all; whether it was the framing to begin the building process, crafting the millwork for the middle stages of construction, to completing all the exacting finish work that gave heart and perfection to the project. He was able to see a picture or have a description of something to build and he could create a version with his own special design. After retiring at 65 Herb worked with Tri-Valley for a few years, then joined his son, Bill, to work for Loren Richards Inc. of Moorhead doing grounds keeping for the American Cystal Sugar Company plants in northern Minnesota and North Dakota. Even as he celebrated his 90th birthday Herb wasn’t about to slow down. After Tammy, Bill’s significant other, bought a Jenny Lind crib, she asked Herb to divide it in two and create two identical benches, which he gladly did. Thus began a few years of his one-of-a-kind bench creating, which included corner benches, a rocker bench made from a queen size headboard, and many more. Each finished bench became one more project he would photograph to add to his “brag book”.
Herb was a faithful member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church; and also held memberships in the UBC Union, Crookston American Legion Post 20, and was a life member of Crookston VFW Post 1902. He devoted his life to Elores and together they were extremely proud of their kids, and granddaughters, finding immense joy in their accomplishments and the wonderful people they have become.
Herb leaves to mourn his passing, Elores, his beloved wife of 67 years; their daughter, Susan Swift of Grand Forks, ND; son, William Swift and his significant other, Tammy Johnson, of East Grand Forks, MN; 2 granddaughters, Janessa Jade Joy and her fiancé, Alex Walton, of Minneapolis, and Cassidy Ann Joy of Myrtle Beach, SC; brother, Donald Swift of Hiram, OH; sister-in-law, Connie Swift of Painesville, OH; a special person in his life who was more like a son, Kent Riendau of Crookston; and Ele’s boys with whom he was especially close: Hugh Jr., Ernie, Jim, Lyle, and Tom. Herb is also survived by the Swiers side of the family: brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law: Vernon and Gertrude Swiers of Dublin, CA, Calvin and Crystal Swiers of Fort Collins, CO, Doreen and Robert Gunderson of Mahnomen, MN, and Agnes Swiers of Detroit Lakes, MN; together with many nieces, nephews, extended family, and friends.
Herb is preceded in death by his parents, Thurman and Alma Swift; an infant grandson, Andrew Myron Moteberg; and 9 siblings including brothers: Hugh (Eleanore), Cecil (Helen), Sherman, Hubert, and Charles (Mona), sisters: Sandra (Murray) Carver, Karen Graf, Ethel Swift, and Mary Lou Parmalee; and sister-in-law, Geri Swift. From the Swiers family were his parents-in-law, Andrew and Hattie Swiers; brothers-in-law, Howard and Richard Swiers; and sister-in-law, Margaret Medd. Cherished be the memory of Herbert E. Swift.
A memorial service for Herb will be held at 2:00 p.m., Monday, November 14, 2022, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Crookston with The Rev. Steve Bohler, officiating. Visitation will be for one hour prior to the service. Military Honors will be provided by the US Navy Funeral Honors Team and the Crookston Veterans Council. The funeral will be livestreamed by going to Herb’s obituary page at www.stenshoelhouske.com and clicking on the prompt to view. Inurnment will take place in the Bejou Cemetery, Bejou, MN, at a later date. Messages of condolence to Elores and family may be offered on the funeral home website.