Ralph B. Swanson, age 84, of Isanti died December 14, 2019 at his home. The funeral service will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Friday, December 20th at First Baptist Church in St. Francis. Visitation will be 1 hour prior to the service at church. Interment will be in Green Lake Cemetery with Military Honors provided by Rum River VFW Post 2735 of Isanti.
Ralph Brytle Swanson was born March 30, 1935 in Foley to Brytle and Ida Mae (Jones) Swanson on the farm. He grew up and attended school in the Princeton area. At a young age, he left home to work with threshing crews and later as truck driver in road construction.
On November 29, 1954, the year he turned 19, he joined the United States Air Force and found a wonderful career working and flying on aircraft. After basic, he trained in aircraft maintenance at Sheppard AFB and in August 1955, went to Okinawa Japan for 2 years. His next station was at Holloman AFB in New Mexico where he met and married the love of his life, LaVerne Campbell on December 12, 1958.
His orders took him around the world from Germany, Thailand, Florida, Vietnam until retiring at Norton AFB after 21 years of service on June 30, 1975. While in Vietnam, he flew 473.5 combat flight hours as a Flight Mechanic on EC-47s and on Jan 10, 1972 completed an extremely hazardous mission which earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross for his “personal bravery and energetic application of knowledge and skill”. From California in 1976, the family moved to Princeton, Minnesota where he worked at Crystal Cabinets Inc. until his final retirement in 1997.
Five years ago, Ralph and LaVerne moved from Princeton to Isanti to be near their son, David and daughter Lynelda. Ralph’s interests and hobbies included classic cars, tractors, going to auctions and fishing. He was an American soldier and loving devoted father who will be greatly missed.
Ralph passed away peacefully at his home on December 14, 2019 surrounded by his family. Besides his parents he was preceded in death by a sister, Janette Spraguer. He is survived by his wife of 61 years LaVerne; 3 children, Jamie (Brenda) Swanson of Midland, North Carolina, Lynelda (Lyndon) Palm of Isanti, David (Wanda) Swanson of Isanti; 9 grandchildren; 9 great-grandchildren; 4 siblings, Duane (Kathy) Swanson of Cross Lake, Delbert (Sharon) Swanson of Oak Park, Melvin (Mary Ann) Swanson of Milaca, Judy (Jerry) Foyen of Princeton; and by many other relatives and friends.