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Don Swenson

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Posted: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 12:38 pm

Don Swenson passed away peacefully on January 9, 2018 in Austin, Texas after a long, heroic battle with cancer. He was 83 years old. In the days preceding his death, he was surrounded by loving family and friends. 

On July 29, 1934 in the Swedish farming community of Kimbro, Texas, Don Lynn Ray Swenson was born prematurely at home to Ivar Theodore Swenson and Eunice Hildegard Swenson; he was an only child. 

Called “Don Ray” growing up in the rural community outside Elgin, Texas, Don graduated from Elgin High School, attended Texas Lutheran College, and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from The University of Texas at Austin in 1957, where he was a member of Delta Nu Alpha.  

After graduating from college, Don was employed as an auditor with Farmers Insurance Group in Austin, Texas and was a member of the Army National Guard. 

He married Barbara June Strawn in 1961 and they had two children, Laurie born in 1962 and Daryl born in 1966.

In 1978, Don went to work with his father, running the family-owned Gulf Oil distributorship, which eventually became Swenson Fuel and Oil Supply. In 1994, Don and June divorced. 

Don married Georganna Johnson in 1996 and they have been happily married for almost 22 years. This union provided Don with additional, cherished extended family, all of whom he greatly adored.

Don was an avid sports fan and especially loved the Texas Longhorns, attending countless UT football and basketball games over the past 70 years. 

In addition to watching sports, he also loved to play, and especially to run, completing many 5K and 10K races well into his 70s. He also loved music, singing tenor for years in the Gethsemane Men’s Quartet and the church choir. He volunteered his time on multiple church projects over the years and also played first base on the church softball team. 

Don enjoyed history and travel, and he and Georganna loved the many international journeys they took, as well as yearly trips to the Texas coast with family and friends. Don loved his grandchildren and never missed a game, performance, or any of their events if he could help it. He was a man of faith and was baptized and confirmed into New Sweden Lutheran Church as a child and then a member of Gethsemane Lutheran Church his entire adult life.

Don was young at heart, a fierce competitor, devoted to God, and amazingly kind-hearted. 

He is  survived by his loving wife, Georganna, his daughter Laurie Pickerill, son-in-law, Mike, and grandchildren Luke and Zoe; by his son, Daryl Swenson, daughter-in-law, Stephanie, and grandchildren Antonia, Isaac, and Elena; by his stepdaughter, Sheryl Evans, son-in-law, Harry, and grandchildren Keegan, Kolby, Kendall, and Kolby’s wife, Jessica; by his stepson, Bruce Johnson, daughter-in-law, Wesley, and grandchildren Emma, Helen, and Keith; and by his two great-grandchildren, Riley and Knox. Don is also survived by beloved sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, cousins, nieces, nephews, and numerous other family and friends.

His family would like to express their sincere gratitude to the 4th floor staff at Seton Hospital in Austin for their thoughtful care during Don’s recent stay. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests any donations or gifts be directed to the Gethsemane food pantry (200 W. Anderson Lane, Austin, TX 78752) or the philanthropy of your choice.

Visitation was held on Thursday, January 11 at Cook-Walden Funeral Home in Austin. 

Interment was Friday, January 12 at Cook-Walden Capital Parks Cemetery in Pflugerville. 

The memorial service was held Friday, January 12 at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Austin.

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