Goodridge - Ernest Swanson, 96, died on Thursday, July 3, 2014 at Pioneer Memorial Care Center in Erskine, following a brief struggle with cancer.
A funeral service was held Tuesday, July 8 at Faith Lutheran Church in Goodridge, with Rev. Bob Dahlen officiating. Casket bearers included Ernest’s grandsons, Chadwyn Knutson, Chris Knutson, J. Pietila, Josh Zimmerman, Aaron Swanson, and Michael Swanson. Interment was held at the Goodridge Cemetery, Goodridge.
Ernest Leroy Swanson was born Oct. 23, 1917 in Highlanding Township, on the Swanson family farm near Goodridge. He was the son of John Nels and Anna (Lind) Swanson. He was baptized and confirmed at Goodridge First Lutheran Church, by Reverend Tungseth in 1930. He graduated from rural school District 38, Goodridge, in 1931 and graduated from Goodridge High School in 1935.
On Nov. 29, 1939, Ernest was united in marriage to Lois Faye Jones. He took over the family farm in 1941, bought it in 1945 (second generation) and sold to third generation son, Alan in 1980. He was appointed Postmaster by President John F. Kennedy, at Goodridge in April 1961. He retired in 1983, still residing on the family farm. He managed the Goodridge Retirement Homes from its organization in 1968 until 2003.
Ernie served on the Goodridge school board, giving each of his five children their high school diplomas. He served on the Board of Directors of Group Health Inc, later Mid-America Mutual, Ins., for some 30 years. He was president of the company for three years and chairman of the board for 16 years. He was a member of the National Association of Postmasters, serving as State President in 1965, a member of the Lions and organized the Goodridge Club in 1961, where he was president, secretary and district governor. In 1954, Ernie joined the Masons and was master of the Thief River Falls Lodge in 1961, grand high priest of Minnesota Royal Arch Mason in 1985 and received his 60-year award in 2014.
He liked to travel, having visited all 50 states in the United States and traveled several foreign countries. Ernest enjoyed woodworking, bowling, cribbage, pinochle, farming, gardening, church, Masons, Lions and politics. Most of all he enjoyed his family.
Ernest is survived by five children: Sharon Knutson, Ada, Lowell (Nancy) Swanson, Goodridge, Anita Pietila, Lake Park, Linda (Mickey) Zimmerman, Reno, Nev., and Alan (Deb) Swanson, Goodridge; grandchildren, Chadwyn (Laura) Knutson, Christopher Knutson, Sheri (Martin) Hill, Shelly Swanson, Kathryn (James) Jenson, Karen Dill, J. (Leslie) Pietila, Kimberly Pietila, Amy Zimmerman, Heidi (Robert) Durns, Josh (Tonya) Zimmerman, Shannon (Kirk) Johnson, Kari (Eric) Walth, Aaron (Claudia) Swanson and Michael Swanson; 15 great- grandchildren, Tyler Hofstad, Justin Hofstad, Kylie Abbiatti, Laura Hofstad, Teagen Knutson, Kailyn Knutson, Talya Jensen, Liam Jensen, Kyra Jensen, Caleb Dill, Connie Dill, Jack Pietila, Skylar Lange, Chesney Zimmerman, and Elizabeth Lois Swanson; sister, Emma Kassa, Willmar; brother, John (LeVonne) Swanson, Burnsville; sister-in-law, Wanda (Reed) Weinberg of Clarksville, Iowa; and brother-in-law, Clair (Allena) Jones of Boerne, Texas; many nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Lois on Jan. 7, 2000; parents, sons-in-law, Royal Knutson and John Pietila; one great-great-grandson; five sisters and two brothers.
Family condolences may be sent by visiting www.johnsonfuneralservice.com.