Kenneth Conrad "Kenny" Swenson, 89, of Crookston, MN, passed away peacefully early Sunday morning, October 21,2018, at the Villa St. Vincent in Crookston, with his family at his side. He had been a resident of the Villa since January 2nd of this year.
Kenny was born on February 3,1929 at Glyndon, MN, the oldest of 5 children of the union of Gust and Anna (Bakken) Swenson. As an infant he and his parents moved to Gary, IN. They came to Crookston a few years later, where Kenny attended Crookston public schools and graduated from Central High School in 1947. On January 27, 1950 he was united in marriage to Susan Prady at Our Savior's Lutheran Church. They would be blessed with 5 children: Dennis, Steven, Marlene, Byron, and Robert. Sadly, Steven passed away on August 14, 1953 when he just 3 days old. In 1948, Kenny, his father, Gust, and brother, Don, co-founded Gust Swenson and Sons, a well-known manufacturing business enjoying an excellent reputation throughout the area for their knowledge and expertise. The company specialized in the design and manufacture of sugar-beet and other agricultural equipment, vital to the success of area growers. They took great pride in creating the first sugar-beet cart, which aided greatly in getting beets from the field to the trucks for transport to the factory. Gust, Kenny, Don, and their families were honored by the Red River Valley Sugar-Beet Growers Association for their significant contributions to the industry. A few years ago Kenny and Don were chauffeured in the City's annual Ox Cart Days Parade, in recognition of their contributions toward making Crookston a great place to live, work, and most importantly, raise a family.
While Kenny's work could honestly be considered his favorite hobby, he still found time to hunt and fish near their cabin at Waskish, MN on the eastern shore of the Upper Red Lake. Once a year he would also spend a few weeks hunting in Montana at the Browning Ranch. A highlight of those trips was getting on a horse and heading out on the 60,000-acre ranch to round up the cattle for branding. This annual adventure definitely brought out the inner cowboy in Kenny. In 1992, as the last of the original partners, Kenny sold the business to his 3 sons. Retirement would not really come until 2000, and it was not unusual for Susan to call the shop and ask the boys' to tell their dad to come home. Kenny was one of the founding members of the Crookston Gun Club and he and Susan spent nearly every Monday at the range trap shooting. It was said that Susan could outshoot Kenny regularly, and she scored a perfect 25 before he could. Loving and adoring husband that he was, Kenny was very proud of her. Kenny and Susan have been longtime members of Our Savior's Lutheran Church, and the Polk County Humane Society, where they rescued several dogs over the years. Kenny volunteered much of his time to the restoration of historical sugar-beet equipment and enjoyed the friendships formed through his association with the Sugar Beet Museum. Several years ago he discovered the enjoyment gained from spending the day working on his yard and gardening. growing both vegetables and flowers. Squirrels, rabbits, and stray cats found a haven in Kenny's yard, and more than one of the cats found its way into his home. He stubbornly refused to let anyone chase his little visitors away. Kenny was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, and will forever be remembered for his faith, wisdom, and selfless devotion to them all.
Kenny is survived by Susan, his beloved wife of 68 years; their 4 children and spouses: Dennis and Lucia Swenson of Crookston, Marlene and Peter Linn of River Falls, WI, Byron and Peggy Swenson and Robert Swenson of Crookston; 11 grandchildren: Sarah (David) Stone, Phil (Christy) Swenson, Eric (Sally) Swenson, Erin Linn, Frank Linn, Rachel (Alex) Bunten, Abby Swenson, Luci Swenson, Kyle (Amber) Swenson, Megan (Ryan) Violette, and Aubrey Swenson; and 15 great-grandchildren. He also leave 3 siblings: Joan Buchhop of Detroit Lakes, MN, Lorrayne Rogers of Minneapolis, and Russell and Florence Swenson of Grand Rapids, MN; several of Susan's siblings: Ruth and Howard Walior of River Falls, WI, Mary Walior of Grand Forks, ND, Irene Usselman of Apple Valley, MN, Grace and Robert Bergevin of Coon Rapids, MN, Marsha Prady of Frazee, MN, and Rosie and Dale Rhode of Eagan, MN; together with many nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.
Kenny is now reunited with his little boy, Steven; his parents, Gust and Anna Swenson; brother and sister-in-law, Don and Theresa Swenson; brothers-in-law, Maurice Buchhop and Ronald Rogers; and from Susan's side of the family: parents-in-law, Alex and Rose Prady; and her siblings: Doris and Kenneth Hanson, Donald Walior, Robert Usselman, and Russell Prady. Blessed be the memory of Kenneth Conrad Swenson.
A memorial service for Kenneth Swenson will be held at 10:30 am, Saturday, October 27,2018 at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Crookston with The Rev. Steve Bohler, officiating. Visitation with the family will be at the Stenshoel-Houske Funeral Home on Friday from 5-7:00 pm, with a 7:00 pm prayer service and time of sharing. Visitation will continue at the church for one hour prior to the funeral. Inurnment will take place in the Oakdale Cemetery, Crookston. In lieu of flowers memorials may be given in Kenny's name to Hospice of the Red River Valley.