1. Most of the photos in this section are obtained from Jean Siirila and her helpers on the showbook committee. Thank you Jean and crew!

Jerry Swedberg

Discussion in 'Tributes' started by M Kerkvliet, Aug 20, 2018.

  1. M Kerkvliet

    M Kerkvliet WMSTR Past President Administrator WMSTR Lifetime Member

    Jerry A. Swedberg
    1932 - 2018
    WMSTR President 1976 - 1979
    Jerome Allen Swedberg "Swed", 86, was born May 31, 1932 and passed peacefully August 18, 2018 at his home. He was born to Wesley and Helen Swedberg, in Worthington, MN. They lived on the farm until the family moved to Minneapolis, when he was 14, so that his father could attend Northwestern Bible College and become a Baptist minister.

    Jerome attended a trade high school in MSP for 1 year where he learned the basic skills he used his whole life. His father was called to his first Church in Pickwick, MN and Jerome attended Winona High School where he graduated in 1951. With his best friend, Wayne Walters, he joined the Navy and 7 days before graduation he went to boot camp. His father had to go and get his diploma.

    He served on the USS Delta, a repair ship in the Pacific for 4 years. He said he learned a lot from the older guys in the shop. On returning home he married Kay Nauman and worked as a tool and die maker for Argus Camera in Spring Grove, MN.

    In 1964 he became an instructor in the Machine Tooling dept. at the State School of Science, Wahpeton, ND. As dept. chair he brought the first CNC machine in the state of ND, teaching new skills and creating one of the best and progressive teaching shops in the US. Over the years many of his students would stop and thank him for giving them the skills for a successful career. That meant a lot to him. He was a partner at Larson Welding, Fargo, ND and went on to start his own shop, Precision Machine of North Dakota, with partners Harold Larson and Carl Wendelbo. They purchased the first NC machine in a private shop. Always progressive, he embraced the computer age. Jerome was self- taught. He was a skilled machinist and always ready to learn new things. Nothing was impossible, nothing was too hard.

    "Swed" was active in WMSTR at Rollag. He served as Director, Secretary and President. It was his passion to preserve the machines of the past. He worked on many of the big projects you see there. He collected and restored rare gas engines and tractors and traveled to many shows every summer exhibiting. He said it was the people who made the hobby so enjoyable and had friends all over the world. Once you met him, you did not forget him, you had a friend.

    "Swed" had a dream of buying a sailboat and sailing around the world. In 1980, he married Elaine Everson and said "let's go sailing" and they did. So with no experience they went from Alaska through the Panama Canal and home to Duluth on a 5 year trip. He also had a special place for animals. "Fraiser", a Siberian tiger, shared their life. Swed would sit for hours with him. Morning coffee was special.

    The family would like to thank all the friends and neighbors who helped make "Sweds" last 7 years good ones as he struggled with Shy-Drager Syndrome. The Fargo VA, Sanford Home Health, and Hospice were there for him. We can't thank them enough for their care and concern.

    He is survived by his wife, Elaine; ex-wife, Kay; daughters, Katheryn (Neal) Morin, Denise (Neil) Rondeau; sons, Henry (Anne) and Oscar (Jennifer); grandaughters, Dani (Kyle) Fennel, Liz Morin, Hannah (Michael) Ketchen, Kate (Matthew) Theilacker, and Jessica (Michael) Hooper; brothers Steve and Dennis (Carol) and sister, Janet Babcock.​

    There will be no service. The family has already celebrated his life. "Swed" took his whole family on a Cruise several years ago instead of having a funeral. He said he wanted to be there and enjoy it.

    Memorials can be given to the charity of your choice. Swed would like it if you would go to Rollag and enjoy and experience the magic. Maybe you will get the Rollag fever. Swed lived life to the fullest, had wonderful friends and family and enjoyed each day.

    "The Clock of Life is Wound but Once"

    On an ancient wall in China where a brooding Buddha blinks deeply graven is the message

    It's later than you think.

    The Clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to tell just when the hand will stop at late or early hour.

    Now is the time you own, the past is a golden link, enjoy life now my brother,

    It's later than you think.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
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  2. M Kerkvliet

    M Kerkvliet WMSTR Past President Administrator WMSTR Lifetime Member

    Jerry was WMSTR President from 1976 to 1979.

    Swed and I did not agree on everything but I always had deep respect for him. I sought his advice on a few occasions on WMSTR related items. His love of WMSTR and the people here was undeniable. He would visit with me for as long as I would sit and listen. I treasure those visits and the stories he would tell.

    "Swed" was the "idea man" and founder of many things we now take for granted at WMSTR. He started and programmed the first data base. That tool has now become invaluable for the Administration people and is used year round to keep track of our members and to stay in touch with them.

    He made the first show video's... everything from production to duplication and video sales. Tim Dachtera and Chris Moen took took on that task after he retired from that job.

    His fingerprints are all over many of the most popular exhibits at WMSTR, especially in the gas engine area of the show grounds. He and wife Elaine worked tirelessly and unselfishly on so many of the exhibits here... so many that started many years before I became active here. I am always learning new things about the history of WMSTR and often the name "Swed" comes up in conversation as being involved in a project somewhere. There are others who could add much more about his contributions to our organization. Many I have yet to learn about.

    You lived a full and adventurous life my friend... Now rest in peace. Your legacy carries on here.

    My favorite photo of Swed... at the time WMSTR's oldest living President along with the (then) current President.

  3. Ned

    Ned Mega Poster WMSTR Lifetime Member

    Starting out at Rollag in the gas engine area as kids over 30yrs ago we always knew we Swed and Elaine as almost another set of grandparents. Back in 2013 Swed made me and few others watch fobs celebrating the 60yrs of WMSTR I was very honored to receive that gift from him and will always cherish it. This was one of the last things he made before his health started to decline. He said maybe in another 60 years I can pass it on.

    He will be missed by many thoughts and prayers go out to Elaine and the rest of the family and friends

    Erik "Ned" Mars
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  4. crystalaakre

    crystalaakre Mega Poster Moderator WMSTR Lifetime Member

    A little over 15 years ago when I started working on WMSTR advertising I went over to visit Swed and Elaine and pick their brains about WMSTR because having grown up around them I got a pretty good handle on who 'knew everything' about Rollag. Side note: when my grandma Ardis Aakre caught wind that I was going over to visit Swed, she wouldn't let me leave without a grocery bag full of raw meat for Fraiser (the tiger). :biglaugh:
    My forever neighbors in Rollag were/are great assets to our show and I can echo what Mark said - "fingerprints are all over many of the most popular exhibits at WMSTR" Swed will be so greatly missed and I hope we can keep the show and his legacy going for years to come. My heart goes out to Elaine and the rest of the Swedberg family.
    jswithers, Ned and M Kerkvliet like this.
  5. RickW

    RickW WMSTR Lifetime Members WMSTR Lifetime Member

    Can't say that Swed was a person that I came to know in my relatively brief time as a Rolllager. May the hereafter, in time, afford me such a privilege.

    The machines are fascinating I'll admit, but to me they're mostly an excuse to have an opportunity to meet people of this sort. The character of our People is no less worthy of preservation than the works of iron around which we gather.
    M Kerkvliet, crystalaakre and Ned like this.
  6. M Kerkvliet

    M Kerkvliet WMSTR Past President Administrator WMSTR Lifetime Member

    That is an awesome statement... Very profound and so true of many here!

    Thanks Rick!
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