Kenneth C. Swanson

Jan. 19, 1934 — April 22, 2021

Kenneth Clinton Swanson, age 87, born January 19, 1934 in Ogema, passed away on April 22, 2021 at his home in New Baden, Illinois surrounded by his loving family. We grieve but we know that he is no longer burdened by the restrictions of his earthly body, he has joined his Savior in Heaven.

Ken grew up on a farm near Ogema, graduating from Rib Lake High School in 1952, then enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, serving honorably for over 26 years. Ken served 9 assignments in the US and overseas including 2 in England, where he met his wife Margaret. His assignments included the US Embassy in Athens, Greece, and Cam Ranh Bay Air Base in Vietnam. His final assignment was at Scott AFB, where he retired in 1978 as Chief Master Sergeant.

During his military career Ken earned numerous awards including the Air Force Commendation medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Joint Service Commendation medal, Meritorious Service Medal, and the Bronze Star Medal. In both 1973 and 1976 he was selected as HQ MAC personnel superintendent, the only member to have been honored twice. In his “spare time” he also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bellevue College (NE) in 1971 and a Master of Arts from Webster University, St Louis, in 1976.

Ken and Margaret have been faithful and active members at Faith Lutheran Church in O’Fallon for over 4 decades. Ken was one of many who didn’t just donate, but also put his energy and sweat into the actual building of the Sanctuary. He also worked at and retired from Sears and Bel-O Heating & Cooling. Ken enjoyed working in his yard and feeding the wide variety of birds that visited, and loved his “prescribed” evening bowl of ice cream (every.single.evening!).

He was preceded in death by his parents George and Angela, nee Risberg, Swanson; his step-mother Nina; siblings Joyce Sjostrom, George “Bud” Swanson, Gladys Jensen; all of Ogema.

Surviving are his wife, Margaret, nee Stepp, Swanson, whom he married September 8, 1956 in Swindon, England; son Paul (Donna) Swanson of O’Fallon; daughter Carolyn (Robert Jr.) Frisse of New Baden; four grandchildren Melanie (Caleb) Dziurdzy, Michael, Gwendolyn, and Cale; 3 great-grandchildren Camden, Alina, and Lydia; and his sister Marie (Marvin) Arneson of Prentice Wisc.

Memorial donations are suggested to either Faith Lutheran Church, 520 E. US 50, O’Fallon, IL 62269 or to First Lutheran Church, W4950 WI-86,Ogema, WI 54459 or to Heartland Hospice, 333 Salem Pl Ste 165, Fairview Hgts, IL 62208.

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Visitation: 5 – 8 pm, Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at Wolfersberger Funeral Home, O’Fallon (masks required). Visitation will continue Wednesday morning, at church, one hour prior to the service.

Funeral: Noon, Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at Faith Lutheran Church, O’Fallon, with Pastor Candice Wassell officiating. Registration to attend is necessary; call the church at 618-632-5562 to register or access sign-up and livestream links at

Burial with military honors will follow at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, Mo.

To plant a tree in memory of Kenneth Swanson as a living tribute, please visit Tribute Store.

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