Merrill Dean Swanson 1933-2019 Merrill Dean Swanson was born on February 22, 1933 on a farm east of Essex, Iowa to Raymond and Inez (Wedell) Swanson. He unexpectedly entered into rest on Saturday, November 9, 2019 at Nebraska Medicine Omaha following a sudden heart attack at the age of 86 years, 8 months, and 18 days. At the age of five, Merrill and his family moved into Essex in 1938. He attended the Essex Community Schools for three years until moving to a farm west of Essex in 1941. He then attended Centennial country school through the eighth grade before attending and graduating from Essex High School with the Class of 1950. Following graduation, Merrill farmed with his father until April of 1953, when he was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. After basic training at Fort Riley, Kansas, he was sent overseas to Kaiserslautern, Germany. He spent 17 months as a clerk typist at Rhine Engineer Headquarters in Germany. He was honorably discharged with the rank of Corporal in March of 1955. Following his discharge, Merrill returned to farming. On January 29, 1956, he was united in marriage to Etta Marie Swift at the Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Shenandoah, Iowa. Following their marriage they moved to a farm north of Shenandoah. While living there a son, Kevin Dean, and a daughter, Nancy Lyn, were born. In 1965, they moved to the farm east of Essex, where Merrill was born. They lived and farmed there until 2006, when they moved to Shenandoah. When Merrill was young he attended and was confirmed in the Mission Covenant Church near Essex and later joined the Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Shenandoah. He served on the church council, Page County Extension Council, was an assistant 4-H Leader, and a member of the American Legion Post #88. He also worked at the Shenandoah Food Pantry. Preceding Merrill in death were his beloved wife, Etta (Swift) Swanson; son, Kevin Swanson; and parents, Raymond and Inez (Wedell) Swanson. Left to cherish his memory are his daughter, Nancy Wilson and her husband Darrell of Quincy, IL; two grandsons, Blake Wilson and his wife Kassidy of Edwardsville, IL and Logan Wilson and Caitlin Arnold of Morrison, CO; two great granddaughters Kalylah and Kelette Wilson of Edwardsville, IL; sister, Mavis Herzberg and her husband Darrell of Villisca, IA; sister-in-law, Gloria Swift of Wheatland, WY; nieces and nephews, Diane Shipley and husband Bill of Nodaway, IA, Chris Herzberg and wife Jami of Charlotte, NC, Steven Herzberg and wife Kristen of Ankeny, IA, Dwight Swift and wife Cindy of Colorado Springs, CO, Paula Ann Swift of Bountiful, UT and Darwin Swift of Bristow, VA; many great nieces, nephews and cousins; other relatives and many friends; and his beloved dog "Sparky". Celebration of life funeral services for Merrill were held on Saturday, November 16, 2019 at 11:00 am at Nishna Valley Funeral Home in Shenandoah with Pastor Kurt Hoover officiating. The family greeted relatives and friends with visitation at the funeral home one hour prior to the service. Casket bearers were Blake Wilson, Logan Wilson, Kyle Shipley, Trever Shipley, Steve Herzberg and Chris Herzberg. Honorary bearers were Bill Shipley, Darrell Wilson, Darrell Herzberg, Jim Wilson and Kris Kirby. Special music was " You Raise Me Up" and "How Great Thou Art". Registry attendants were Mary Alice Johnson and Karen Erickson. Burial was in Shenandoah's Rose Hill Cemetery with full military honors accorded by Shenandoah American Legion Post #88. Memorials in Merrill's name are being directed to the Shenandoah Emmanuel Lutheran Church or to People For Paws. Professional services were under the direction of Nishna Valley Funeral and Cremation Service in Shenandoah. Remembrances and condolences may be viewed and shared at: swimemorial.com on the web.

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