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Saturday, May 21, 2022
9:00 - 10:30 am (Central time)
Saturday, May 21, 2022
Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)
Saturday, May 21, 2022
Starts at 2:30 pm (Central time)
Katherine (Kay) Swenson, 97 years of age and formerly of Warwick, ND, passed over in her sleep on May 11, 2022, in Devils Lake, ND.
Kay was born to John and Anna Lambert in Doland, SD on December 5, 1924, the second child of the family. Her brother, Lee, was two years older and her sisters, Marge, Maxine, Janice, Mardell, and Sharon were born after her.
Even in Kay’s early years in Doland, South Dakota, she showed a passion for making the world around her more beautiful by bringing items home from the town dump to use as flower planters.
The family moved to North Dakota when Kay was five years old and she started school at a one room schoolhouse just north of Tokio, ND. The family moved often but stayed in the Warwick area. Kay attend Warwick Public School for most of her education, finishing in 1942 after the war had started.
Kay and her friend Jean, moved to Milwaukee, WI to get jobs in the factories producing materials for the war effort, but since they were just shy of eighteen years old, they had to settle for jobs at a Dime Store. Kay and Jean returned to North Dakota in the fall and Kay’s romance with Johnny Swenson resulted in a proposal. Johnny and Kay were married in Moorhead, MN on December 28, 1942, and they began their married life on a farm Johnny was renting near Kindred, ND.
The first year of the marriage was eventful, their farm was hit by a tornado and all the buildings, except the house they were huddling in, were destroyed. This was spring and the water was already high, the rain which accompanied the storm flooded the farm with water more than a foot deep.
Johnny and Kay’s first child, Gene, was born on January 1, 1944, and more children, ten in all followed as the family moved to various rented farms and areas where Johnny could find construction work. In 1959 the family moved to Warwick where they stayed for many years.
After she married Johnny, she set about beautifying every place they lived. Shortly after the family moved to Warwick, ND, she had Johnny build her a greenhouse to start her own plants. The one hundred square feet of greenhouse quickly grew to ten thousand square feet and faithful customers came from more than one hundred miles to buy flowers, plants grown with such love and care they were sure to thrive when the customers brought them home.
Kay’s ten children all worked in the greenhouse, but that wasn’t all she taught them, she also taught them to love and serve God. Kay’s love of God and his creation led her and her husband, Johnny, to immerse themselves in serving the Lord, in 1949 when Kay was 25 years old. Together, they lived such a life of service they inspired their children to do the same. Kay kept her love for what is eternal until the day she died.
Johnny died in a construction accident on February 19, 1974, and Kay never remarried. In 2001 She moved with her son Gene to a home in East Grand Forks where she lived until the fall of 2020. Since 2020, Kay has lived with Arleen in Hutchinson, MN, with Marleen in Minneapolis, MN, and a two month visit to Dennis in Canon City, CO.
When she wasn’t painting, arranging flowers, creating wedding cakes or quilting, Kay enjoyed traveling throughout God’s natural creation. Visiting with friends in her Christian fellowship were special highlights of her life.
Kay is survived by her sisters: Janice Watne and Sharon Lutton; her children: Gene Swenson in East Grand Forks, MN, Kathleen Wallace and her husband Glenn in Warwick, ND, Marleen Mote and her husband Terry in Minneapolis, MN, Larry Swenson and his wife Kathy in Langley, WA, Dennis Swenson and his wife Deanne in Canon City, CO, Loretta Wittkop and her husband Charles in Devils Lake, ND, Arleen Larson and her husband Warren in Hutchinson, MN, Ron Swenson and his wife Ann in Langley, WA, Debbie Craven and her husband Scott in Devils Lake, ND, Lorri Ryan and her husband Mark in East Grand Forks, MN.
Kay is also survived by 20 grandchildren, and 37 great-grandchildren, the great-greats are still coming.
Kay was preceded in death by her husband John Swenson, her parents John and Anna Lambert, her siblings Lee, Maxine, Marge and Mardell, John’s parents Carl and Clara Swenson and Johnny’s siblings, Alice, Esther, Hilma, Olga, Gladys, Harold, Charlie, Evelyn, and Dorothy. Kay was also pre-deceased by her great-granddaughter, Annika Lang.
Services will be held on May 21, 2022, at the Gilbertson Funeral Home,
509 Highway 2 West, Devils Lake, ND 58301
Visitation will begin at 9:00 am and the Service will take place at 10:30 am. Leroy Sanford and Glenda Pickering will be officiating.
Lunch will be served at the Holiday Inn Express, (875 Hwy 2 Devils Lake ND), immediately after the service.
Following lunch, at 2:00 pm, the family, officiants, and any who choose will make their way, (without a procession), to the Warwick Cemetery for graveside services