Wesley Arvid Swanson was born Aug. 8, 1932, in Axtell. He died Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, at Wesley Medical Center at the age of 87.
He was the youngest of Arvid and Lydia Swanson’s five children–Lillian, Stanley, Elaine and Lloyd. Of those four siblings, Elaine White survives.
Wes was an athlete, and enjoyed playing basketball and baseball in high school. He graduated from Vermillion High School in Vermillion.
One year after he graduated from high school, he joined the Navy. He was sent to San Diego for training and was there for four years. During that time, he was set up on a blind date and met his future wife, Jean Dody (also a Kansas native). They were married Sept. 17, 1954, and continued to live in the San Diego area until Wes’ discharge from the Navy.
They returned to Kansas and during this time, Wes and Jean welcomed their daughter, Jan, in 1957. Soon after that, Wes decided to go to college, so the family moved to Emporia, and Wes got his teaching degree. He taught high school business classes for 12 years. During that time, he also got his master’s degree in teaching from Emporia State. After 12 years, he decided he wanted to go in a different direction and briefly became a social worker, then settled into his next career working for Social Security being a claims representative. His knowledge and kind personality helped many people through the process of figuring out their social security benefits. Wes retired at age 62, and at that time he and Jean took on the task of providing childcare for Jan and her husband Jeff’s three children, Erik, Mary and Elizabeth. What a gift that was for Jeff and Jan, and especially for the three grandkids. He always knew what was going on with his family and was an incredibly loving and caring dad and grandpa.
After retirement, Wes also worked part time for Conklin Cars, delivering and picking up cars. He loved traveling around on those trips and it was a perfect retirement job for him. It also allowed him time to be involved with the grandkids.
He liked sports of all kinds and frequently watched them on TV. He had been a fisherman, hunter and golfer all his life. He loved bluegrass music and he liked playing cards.
Wes was a sweet and kind man. He enjoyed family more than anything. He will be very missed by all who loved him, including his wife, Jean; daughter, Jan (Jeff) Glimpse; grandchildren, Erik (May), Mary and Elizabeth Glimpse; sister, Ealine White; sisters and brothers-in-law and a host of nieces and nephews.
The memorial service was at 2 p.m., Monday, Feb. 17, at the First United Methodist Church in Newton. A memorial has been established with the First United Methodist Church in Newton.