Margaret Swanson
October 25, 1919 - August 12, 2011
Birthplace: Urbana, Ohio
Resided In: Red Oak, Iowa

Visitation 8/16/2011
Nelson-Boylan-LeRette Funeral Chapel
Service 8/17/2011
St. Mary's Catholic Church
Burial 8/17/2011
Evergreen Cemetery

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Funeral Mass for Margaret Swanson, 91, Red Oak, Iowa, will be Wednesday, August 17, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church with Father Thomas Kunnel, TOR Celebrant. Burial will be in Evergreen Cemetery. Visitation with the family will be held from 7-8 p.m. Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at the Nelson-Boylan-LeRette Funeral Chapel. Memorials are suggested to: Montgomery County Memorial Hospital or St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Nelson-Boylan-LeRette Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements. Mrs. Swanson died Friday, August 12, 2011 at the Red Oak Rehab and Care Center.

She was born Margaret Seibert on October 25, 1919 in Urbana, Ohio, the only child of Benjamin and Cecelia Seibert. The family moved to Springfield, Ohio, where Margaret was raised and attended Catholic schools. She graduated from Springfield Central Catholic in 1937 and attended Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York earning a B.A. in Medieval History in 1941. She moved to Des Moines, IA and attended Drake University earning 30 graduate English hours and a teaching certificate in 1942. She taught English for 2 years at Villisca, Iowa High School from 1942 to 1944 and then moved to Iowa City and taught 1 year at Iowa City High and 1 semester at The University of Iowa.

During her Villisca years she met and later married R. John Swanson on January 2, 1946. It was a union that would endure for nearly sixty years until R. John’s death in November 2005. Margaret took time out from her teaching career to raise five sons but returned to the profession in 1962 at Red Oak High School. For the next 29 years she enlightened young minds in the art of writing and literature as a teacher of Rhetoric, the Humanities, and English Literature – with exceptional expertise on Shakespeare’s work. The University of Iowa honored her as Iowa Teacher of the Year in 1985.

While teaching full time, she managed to acquire a Masters Degree in English from the University of Omaha, now known as U.N. Omaha.

After retiring from teaching in 1991, Margaret continued to serve as a substitute teacher for Red Oak until 2005. Margaret loved to travel, whether as a chaperone to students on European tours or with her husband and many friends. During the course of her life, she managed to visit every continent except Antarctica. Her travel list includes all fifty states and over forty countries.

She also loved to read, work crossword puzzles, and write poetry and short stories. She utilized her retirement years to write a semi-autobiographical novel that, alas, has yet to be published.

Everyone who knew Margaret will remember her sharp wit and keen sense of humor, her kind and thoughtful personality, her intelligence, and her exceptional ability with the written and spoken word.

She is preceded in death by her parents and her husband of 59 years, R. John Swanson.

Survivors include five sons; Ralph Swanson and his wife, Ann of Palo Alto, CA, Benjamin Swanson of Des Moines, Mark Swanson and his wife Kai of Red Oak, David Swanson of Red Oak, and Bruce Swanson and his wife Cindy of Red Oak; grandchildren, Drew and Abbey Swanson and Darcy Eitzen of Red Oak, Leslie Dovel of Ankeny, Courtney Pfeiffer and her husband Tom of Omaha, Larissa Marocco and her husband Jim of Campbell, CA, Christina Swanson of Palo Alto, CA, and Kayla and Jordyn Cornelison of Red Oak; six great grandchildren, many nieces and nephews, other relatives and friends.


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Nelson-Boylan-LeRette Funeral Chapel, Inc.
410 Sixth Street
Red Oak, Iowa 51566
Phone: (712) 623-2525 or
(800) 653-4881