I had been planning this for a few months, I just didn't know the date. Even though we were in lockdown mode due to COVID, funeral homes were still operating within certain guidelines. I chose a Saturday in June so that family could make it up from south Texas and dad's weekday caregivers would also be able to be there. May 26th I went and met with John Aleman once again to discuss a memorial service. It was easier to do this time around since in my mind I had already been planning this and I had most of it all ready for him. I even had my initial draft of the eulogy ready.
Order of Service
Greeting – Pastor
Song – Come Just as You Are (Crystal Lewis)
Eulogy Reading Family
Song – Go Rest High On That Mountain (Vince Gill)
Scripture Reading (Psalm 34:18 ) Pastor
Message – (very short message delivered by Pastor)
Prayer (followed by:) The Lord’s Prayer Pastor
Song – Fathers and Daughters (Michael Bolton)
Dennis Neal Swanson, 80, passed away peacefully Monday, May 18, 2020 at Franklin Park Retirement Community in Round Rock, Texas.
He leaves behind; his sister, Geralyn Kirkpatrick of Brownsville, two brothers Leland Swanson and wife Rita of Boerne, and Kevin Swanson and wife Susan of Alamo; his daughter, Loris Jones and husband Kevin of Taylor; two granddaughters Megan Ashley Lay of Hutto and Kelsie Lynn Condo of Hutto and one grandson Tyler Alan Jones of Taylor; two great granddaughters Lynzy Grace Lay of Hutto and Madison Grace Condo of Hutto; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Alf Bertil Swanson and Marie Evelina Stutt Swanson and his wife Loris Sue Swanson.
Born in Alamo, and raised in Edinburg, Texas, the son of Alf and Marie Swanson. He was a graduate of Edinburg High School in 1958. He then graduated from Pan American University in 1962 with a bachelor degree in education. He then earned his Masters degree in education from Southwest Texas State University in 1969. He was also a member of the Sigma Chapter of the Iota Lambda Sigma professional industrial education fraternity since July 31, 1975.
He married Loris Sue Swanson on December 27, 1965 and they were married for 53 years.
After graduating from college Mr. Swanson honorably served the education profession as a counselor, a teacher and at the end of his career as the vocational administrator for the Austin Independent School District where he retired after twenty-seven years of dedicated service.
Mr. Swanson was also a certified peace officer and served as a part time police officer for the City of Lago Vista from 1987 to 1988 and as a reserve deputy constable for Travis County from November 24, 1987 to August 19, 1996.
After retirement, Mr. Swanson enjoyed traveling across the country with his wife and family, woodworking, occasionally playing bridge with his wife and their friends, and spending time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The family would like to thank the staff at Franklin Park for caring for our father/grandpa/great-grandpa during these last few months.
A memorial service will be held at Beck Funeral Home, Cedar Park, TX; Saturday, June 6, 2020 at 2:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Mr. Swanson’s name to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Thank you all for being here, I know it wasn’t easy during this unprecedented time in our world and it means a great deal that you are here as we honor the man, I called dad. Dennis Neal Swanson was 80 years old when he passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer’s at Franklin Park Assisted Living and Memory Care Center in Round Rock Texas on May 18, 2020.
While trying to come up with what to say about my father I started off by jotting down some words that came to mind when I thought of him, some of the first were independent, caring, kind, stubborn, fair, generous, creative, hardworking, and focused. But then things that he loved came to mind such as his coffee, ice cream and snickers candy bars. Those were just material things that he really liked, what comes to mind when I think of what my father really loved was his family. His face would light up every time he saw one of his grandchildren or great-grandchildren enter the room or he saw a new picture of one of them. No matter what they chose to do in life or how far they would go he was going to be proud of them. His love for family extended to his brothers, sister, nieces and nephews as well. While it wasn’t the best of times to see his siblings and some of his nieces and nephews last October, he enjoyed it anyway, and when his sister visited him while he was in memory care, I remember how his face lit up when he saw her. And when Leland visited him at the end of April, I remember him perking up when he heard his voice and laugh.
Laughter and a sense of humor was something we tried to keep around him to the very end and he kept it with him as well. Every time I would leave his room after a visit, I would give him a kiss and a hug, tell him I loved him and then turn to him and say “You better behave.” His typical response to that would be “Ahh, that’s no fun!” with a smirk on his face. Another time near the end when I was with him, he and another couple of the residents were walking the hallway with myself and a caregiver one evening, we kind of had a human train going, and dad decided he was going to run the walker he was using into the wall. Yes, on purpose. As soon as he hit the wall, he said BOOM. I kneeled down and put my face in front of his and said “Are you trying to be funny?” His response was “funny, yeah!” I’ve heard there are several other stories that could be told, especially when he and one other resident in particular seemed to team up together, and I’ve even caught a few things that made me go “huh, what are they thinking/doing?” on the cameras that I had set up in his room. That same resident seemed to sense that something wasn’t quite right with dad near the end and the former doctor in him came out and I would see him on video clips from the camera feeds making a “house call” and checking in on his patient. Thank you, Dr. Paul!
The staff that took care of dad while he was at Franklin Park became more than just caregivers, they became family to me as well. I don’t know what I would have done without them there to watch over and care for him when I couldn’t be there for him, and I know they cared for and loved him as much as I did. I can never thank them enough for not only caring for him in the end but for caring for me as well.
Those of you who knew my dad knew he was a lifelong educator. He drove a school bus, he was a high school counselor, a vocational education teacher, a certified drivers education instructor, and retired from the Austin Independent School District as the Vocational Administrator with a total of 27 years of service to the district. He also served as a reserve police officer for Lago Vista Police Department for a short time and as a reserve deputy constable for Travis County for nine years. My dad was not one to sit still that’s for sure.
Dad also enjoyed travelling with my mom across the country during the summers and definitely loved wood working. He has crafted items as small as wine bottle stoppers, pen and pencil sets and butcher block cutting boards to larger items like office desks, grandfather clocks and kitchen cabinets. My mother always used to complain about never being able to put her car in the garage because he took it over with all of his power tools and other equipment, he needed (or thought he would need) for all the items he wanted to make. He also loved to take a run-down worn out piece of furniture and make it new again.
That’s the way I think of my dad now, new again. No more pain, no more confusion, no more suffering. I love you and miss you so much dad but I’m happy you are at peace.