James Swedback

james swedback

Jim Swedback, 74, a cherished, much loved husband, father, and grandfather died recently at the Sherman Home Hospice Center in Scottsdale, Arizona, after a brave, dignified nine-month battle with cancer. James Miller Swedback, pilot, arrived in this world on June 22, 1935, in Littlefork, Minnesota, and launched his eternal flight on February 24, 2010. He was raised in Big Falls, Minnesota, the son of the late Vern and Pat Miller Swedback and brother of the late Joann Swedback Rector. He served eight years in the Air Force as an Intelligence Specialist in California, Alaska, and Texas before moving back to Northern Minnesota where he began selling life insurance for Pioneer Mutual Life Insurance Company. During his 35-year career, Jim rose from the position of field agent selling insurance in Northern Minnesota to become President and CEO of the company in Fargo, North Dakota. Jim received professional industry designations for CLU and FMLI. But of his many joys in life, Jim cherished most of all his family. He leaves behind his wife, Kathryn, his children, Gary (Irina) of San Diego, California; Julie, of White Bear Lake, Minnesota; and Lori (Richard) van Litsenburg of Fargo; his seven grandchildren, Arielle and Sophia Swedback, Ben (Renata) and Alison Gilmore, Jack and Sam Marko, and Johnny van Litsenburg, and his beloved, naughty Irish Terrier, Minnie. Jim was a terrific role model to everyone and lived life by his motto, “Be Prepared for Opportunity.” His grandchildren will remember a loving, hands-on grandpa who leaves indelible memories of glorious times at the lake that included plane rides in his Piper Supercub, boating, 4-wheeling, snowmobiling, old cars and trucks and year round fun. He mentored family and friends taking a strong interest in the careers of many of his work associates long after he retired. Jim’s passion for flying rekindled after his retirement, and he added many new friends in the Fargo area and lake regions of Minnesota. The annual pilgrimage to Oshkosh, Wisconsin has been a highlight for his close knit group of pilot friends. Jim and Kate spent many wonderful retirement years living between Lake Heilberger in Minnesota and Scottsdale, Arizona in the winter. Jim generously contributed his time to civic activities. He was past president of the Lake Agassiz Kiwanas and the F-M Area Foundation, and he served on several boards, notably Norwest Bank and the Humane Society of Ottertail County. Jim worked much of his life with Boy Scouts of America and was past president of the Northern Lights Council of North Dakota where he proudly received the Silver Beaver Award. Jim was an eternal optimist and a positive thinker throughout his life. There will be a visitation beginning at 7 p.m. followed by a prayer service at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 5, 2010, at Boulger Funeral Home in Fargo. The funeral Mass will be at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 6, 2010, at Holy Spirit Church in Fargo. Private interment. Donations preferred to Hospice of the Valley, 1510 E. Flower St., Phoenix, AZ 85014 or www.hov.org.

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