This is the obituary for Monte's dad. Monte's Mom started telling the mortuary man a list of a lot of these things until we said we'd write it. So Monte did the initial writing with many of us editing, including some grandkids and his mom. A wonderful man: son, brother, uncle, friend, husband, dad, grandpa, and great-grandpa! A rich heritage is carrying on ...
Emery A. Swan, 89, of Ogema, went to be with his Lord on January 15, 2010 at his home in Town of Hill. He was born Easter Sunday, April 4, 1920, on the family farm, to Oscar and Selma Swan, the sixth of 12 children. He attended Ring School in Town of Hill, and later, night school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Em loved hunting, fishing, and playing baseball with his brothers. Eventually he played as a semi-professional for the Wisconsin Valley League. In the late 1930’s, he worked in Chicago for a commercial construction company that sent him to Utah and New York on various assignments.
In March 1947, Em eloped with the love of his life, Betty Hallstrand. They bought a home on Pearson Lake where they lived for two years while Em logged with his brother. Em and Betty then moved to Shawano where they owned and operated a deli. After selling it, they relocated to Franklin, Wisconsin where Em worked as a carpenter. Eventually he became foreman and layout man for Kilps & Sons and in the 1960’s he was instrumental in helping them become Wisconsin’s largest conventional builder. Em and Betty were members of Beloit Road Baptist Church where Em was a trustee, helped with the Boy’s Brigade Club, built a kitchen, and crafted a special cedar ceiling for the new church.
Most of Em’s spare time was spent with his boys: teaching and mentoring them in the fine points of hunting and fishing, and supporting and coaching them as they pursued baseball, golf, track, cross country and basketball (attending over 500 of his sons’ basketball games). As a Little League coach he made sure all team members played and they went undefeated in a league of 14 teams.
In 1985, Em retired and he and Betty moved home to Town of Hill. They built a home on Highway C where he raised ginseng and balsam Christmas trees—winning 1st place at the Ogema Christmas Tree Festival. This tender, kind-hearted, good-natured man had a great sense of humor. He endeared all with the expressions “ding-dong-it”, “blame-it-anyway,” and “Oh, fright”. Em was a wonderful grandfather, playing, listening, and laughing with his grandchildren. He supplied his sons with maple syrup he made the old fashioned open-air way. With his close friend Dennis Vesely, he logged and worked in the woods until September 2009.
Em and Betty loved to travel, visiting Canada, Mexico, and all lower 48 states. In the early days they traveled with their sons, and during their retirement with Em’s older brother Clifford Swan and wife Melba. On a later trip to Wyoming with Ray and Julie Ploof, Em enjoyed the surprise of Betty’s birthday party.
Em’s philosophy on life was, “I’m in God’s hands so why worry.” This wonderful outlook persisted as he coped with cancer. Never complaining, he was blessed by having no pain, which mystified his doctors.
The name Emery means “family strength… industrious, hard worker”, and this certainly described Em. He had a gift for inspiring men to create with pride, looking beyond the labor, anticipating the completed product. But Em excelled at family strength and his greatest joy was spending time with his family. They now total 50, including 20 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren (all boys), the youngest born to Travis and Sarah Swan on January 9th named Emery Revere Swan.
For many years Em’s boys watched their father sit at the dining room table a few minutes before they left for church, and write the family’s weekly check for the Lord’s work. This action showed them in no uncertain terms where his treasures were. Em’s tangible love for Betty and the irresistible force of his sacrificial love for and belief in the boys and in God, won the sons’ hearts. Through their lives they’ve sought to honor this amazing man.
Em is survived by Betty, his wife of 62 years, his sons and daughters-in-law: Monte (Karey) Swan, Evergreen Colorado; Mike (Linda) Swan, Green Bay Wisconsin; Mark (Cindy) Swan, Gillette Wyoming; and Scott (Chris) Swan, Fennimore Wisconsin. He was preceded in death by four brothers and three sisters.
A memorial service was held January 18 at Ogema Baptist Church. Pallbears were: Danny Swan, Dennis Vesely, Gary Swan, Jim Swan, Scott Wildberg, and Steve Swan. The funeral was conducted by Pastor Rodney Price of the Ogema Baptist church. The Heindl Funeral Home assisted the Family with arrangements.