John Ansfred Swanson was born on October 3, 1927 in Kansas City, MO, to Hilma Danielson and Carl W. Swanson. John’s family consisted of two older brothers, Art and Carl, and one younger sister, Gladys.
Because of the Crash of 1929, the family lost everything and moved from their apartment complex to the family farm. Dad attended 1st-8th grade in Leroy, KS, and had one teacher for all grades.
Because of their ties with the Lutheran church and family out west, the Swansons moved to Idaho, where
Dad attended Boise High School. During his high school years, he delivered papers and worked for a veterinarian to help support the family. At the age of 14, his father passed away, leaving the 3 older boys to care for the family. Dad developed a love for flying and building airplanes. Even as busy as he was, he still found time to take flying lessons, build on his musical talents and become a roller skating and dance instructor.
In 1944, toward the end of WWII, he dropped out of school his senior year to enlist in the Navy. While in the Navy, he was a radio operator on a Submarine Tender stationed in Guam. Dad served two years in the Navy, and because of his radio operator skills, he later in life became a ham radio nut, spending countless late-night hours talking to other nuts all over the world. In 2004, Boise High School presented dad with his GED for his service to his country.
After the Navy, Dad returned home to Idaho and was accepted to a school in Kansas to study to be a station agent. Upon completion, he was hired by United Airlines in Boise, ID, and in 1950 transferred to Twin Falls, ID.
One of Dad’s friends lived on the same street as a single mother of two named Neva. That same friend also told Neva of a young man that was interested in meeting her. After several attempts to meet, Dad finally called her and asked her on a blind date. They met in November of 1951 and were married on April 26, 1952. Dad became an instant father to Neva’s two children, Sharon (8) and Garry (5). Because of his youthful age, Dad soon became the favorite of all the children in the neighborhood. It wasn’t long before the neighborhood kids would ring the doorbell and ask if John could play.
Because John was Lutheran, and Neva was LDS, Neva suggested they should attend both Lutheran and LDS services and then decide which one was going to work best for the new family. So, on Wednesdays they went to Bible study at the Lutheran church, and on Sundays they went to services at the LDS church. John was baptized in the LDS church in 1953. In 1954, John and Neva were sealed in the Idaho Falls Temple.
Dad left United Airlines and went to work for Shelby’s Market and Western Optical. Soon after, a friend offered Dad a job at American Optical in Boise, giving them a better opportunity and a chance to move closer to his family. To help supplement their income, John also worked at the IGA grocery store. Dad was given an opportunity to work for the US Postal Service and enlisted in the Idaho Air National Guard. The family was getting ready to welcome a new baby into the family, and Michael arrived on October 16, 1958. Sharon and Garry were excited to have a new baby brother. With the expansion of the family, they moved from Denton Street to Jackson Street, where they lived for 5 years. In 1963, the family made the move to Sunrise Rim, where Dad helped to complete most of the finishing work on the house. The family had moved from a one-car garage to a two-car garage, which was unheard of back then. The garage never had cars parked in it because of Dad’s projects. Eventually, he added a shop to make more room for his projects. Dad and Mom transformed their house into a home with beautiful landscaping and a large garden. They loved entertaining friends, family and co-workers. Dad and Mom shared a love for dance and became dance instructors for several years together.
In 1987, Dad retired from the US Postal Service and the Air National Guard, and they headed for the hills. It was Mom’s dream to live in the mountains, and they spent 15 years in Royal Scott Subdivision in Donnelly, ID. They built a mountain home that was beautifully landscaped and properly adorned with decks and fire pits. The entire family enjoyed visiting their home and made wonderful memories that will last forever.
In 2004, because of failing health, Dad and Mom moved back to Boise to be closer to doctors and family. Even with his failing health, Dad still found time for his love of music and spending time with his family.
Dad always had a love for life and a positive attitude, even with his declining health. He spent his final days surrounded by family. Dad passed away peacefully on February 6, 2018, at his home in Boise, ID.
John was preceded in death by his father and mother, 3 siblings, Art, Carl and Gladys, and his granddaughter Melinda. He is survived by his wife of 65 years and their children Sharon, Garry and Michael, 6 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.