Cover photo for Elmer James Swanson's Obituary
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1946 Elmer 2023

Elmer James Swanson

January 31, 1946 — March 13, 2023

Elmer James Swanson died peacefully in his home on March 13, 2023.  At his side was his sister and caregiver, Anita, a retired R.N.  Per Elmer’s request, he was cremated and there will be no services.  Meyer Brothers Colonial Chapel is handling the arrangements.  Online condolences may be made to

Elmer was born on January 31, 1946 in Oakland, NE to Harold H. Swanson and Edna (Olson) Swanson.  He was the youngest of 7 children.  He grew up on the family farm.  Elmer attended the Deman one room county school until 3rd grade, and then Decatur Elementary School. He graduated from Decatur High School in 1964.  Elmer was a baptized member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Elmer was always busy doing something, at an early age he was helping his dad with the farm and the service station in town.  He loved John Deere Tractors.  He liked the simple things in life, grilling hot dogs and burgers, eating tomatoes outside, with a tomato in one hand and a salt shaker in the other with tomato juice dripping down his arm.  Nebraska Sweet Corn, fried chicken, Dr. Pepper, and iced tea were some of his favorites.  He never tired of Westerns, especially with John Wayne.  He loved to dance to music with Elvis Presley.  Elmer was a loyal person and never forgot when someone was kind to him.  He would help anyone he could and loved to visit with family and friends.

On February 27, 1965 he married Barbara Rich.  To this union 3 children were born; Jerri Ann, Jon Gordon, and James Jay.  They later divorced.  Elmer missed his friends Leon Anderson, Dave Ogden, Lyle Larson, niece, Roxie Johns, great-nephew, Brandon Bacon, cousin, Iver Beckstrom and many more.  Elmer was blessed being in the care of people who loved him.  PCP Jennifer Stodden, PA, and Dr. Thomas Magnuson, of UNMC, and Mark Hall, his physical therapist, became members of his family with almost weekly sessions.  Marilyn Longlee, a retired nurse, would come to visit and would do whatever needed to be done.  Elmer was surprised on his 77th birthday when Marilyn brought homemade cream puffs plus a candle, he was able to blow out.  Elmer’s sister Anita didn’t leave unless there was someone with Elmer at all times.  Countless other people helped Elmer accomplish his wish to die at home.  Elmer was delighted when grandchildren would dance and sing for him.

He was preceded in death by his parents, brother, Harold A. Swanson, sisters: LaVonne Yanke and Mary Lou Swanson, former son-in-law, Jim Erlandson, daughter-in-law, Helen Harding, granddaughter, Ava Harding, niece, Roxie Johns, and nephew, Brandon Bacon, and nephew-in-law, Dick Foley.

Survivors are his sister, Anita Swanson, niece, Candy Foley, sisters, Mary Bacon and Donna Preston, children: Jerri Ann (Steve) Harding Strong, Jon Gordon Harding, and James Jay (Sarah) Harding, 7 grandchildren, 4 great grandchildren, and many nieces, nephews and others.

There is a saying: “People will forget what you did, they may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Elmer James Swanson, please visit our flower store.


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