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James Carl Swanson (Swanny), 72 of Bayport, MN, passed away peacefully at home on December 10, 2023, from Alzheimer's disease, with his family lovingly by his side.
Jim was born in Minneapolis, MN on April 14, 1951, to Carl and Alice Swanson. He was raised in Minneapolis and graduated from Minnehaha Academy in 1969. Jim loved sports, whether playing, watching, or coaching. After high school, he went on to play football for Bemidji State University, excelling as a corner back and graduating with a degree in Physical Education. He later earned a master's degree in Secondary Education at Northern State University. In his early years after college, he continued to pursue his love of sports through teaching and coaching football at St. Francis High School and Fergus Falls Community College.
Jim started his business career in 1983 at Dayton Hudson Distribution Center. He was able to transfer his previous coaching experiences into the business world, where he very much enjoyed leading and developing teams. He had an easygoing yet impactful way of reaching people, a skill that cannot be taught. His natural leadership style and dedicated work ethic landed him the opportunity to become the General Manager at the Walmart Distribution Center in Menomonie, WI in 1993. Jim was a well-respected colleague and remained with Walmart until his retirement in 2016. ¬¬¬
Jim and his family relocated to Menomonie, and he quickly integrated himself into the community. He was incredibly kind, compassionate, humble, and always embraced opportunities to give back. He was enthusiastic about family, sports, coaching, and helping others achieve their goals. Jim was never too busy to help and never too busy for a chat. He touched the lives of many, whether it was the associates at the Distribution Center or the numerous children that he coached throughout the years.
Out of all his passions, Jim took the greatest pride in his family. He loved being a father and was committed to being the best example for his three children to emulate. Jim loved to coach them on the hockey rink and baseball field, spending hours teaching them the value and love of competition while also remaining loyal to the purpose of the game. He was the definition of leading by example and taught his kids firsthand the importance of a hard work ethic and ongoing perseverance. He hoped to one day pass these lessons along to his grandchildren. While he will no longer be able to do so in person, the values he instilled live on in each of his children and will be shared for generations to come.
Jim never took a day for granted or missed an opportunity to tell his family how much he loved them. He will be remembered for all the heart he shared, and he will be deeply missed at all his cherished family events, such as, the annual family vacation on Gull Lake, Christmas Eve gatherings, spring breaks, watching Gopher sporting events or attending the College World Series. He lived his life to the fullest and brought so much joy and happiness to those around him.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents Carl and Alice Swanson, his sister Jean Shaller, his in-laws Ed and Elaine Simonet, his brother in-laws Ed Simonet and Joe Simonet, and his infant Granddaughter Wren Swanson. Jim is survived by his wife Denise, their children Danny (Leah) Swanson of Omaha NE, Maggie (Kyle) Baran of Stillwater MN, and Michael (Samantha) Swanson of Duluth, MN, his grandchildren, Remi and Whitman Swanson, Briggs and Charlie Baran, and Gino Swanson. He is also survived by in-laws Anne Simonet, Marc and Mary Washburn, Kate and Mark Runde, Jim and Challene Simonet, Roy and Margaret Anderson, and many nieces and nephews.
Mass of Christian Burial 10:30 a.m. Friday, December 22, 2023 at the Church of St. Charles, 409 Third St. N, Bayport, MN. Visitation will be held from 4:00-7:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 21 at the Simonet Funeral Home, 6429 Osgood Ave. N, Stillwater, MN, and one hour prior to the Mass at church on Friday. Following the Mass, all are invited to a reception at the Lowell Inn, 102 2nd St., Stillwater, MN.
Memorials preferred to Menomonie Youth Hockey Associate (MYHA) at PO Box 492, Menomonie, WI, 54751.