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Beloved friend, son, husband, and cherished dad, Derek Dexter Sway, 35, of Moorhead, Minnesota, passed away on Saturday, October 24, 2020, at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, North Dakota due to complications from pneumonia and a lung infection.
Derek was born to David and Kathy Sway of Moorhead, Minnesota on October 4, 1985. His mile-wide smile and heart of gold blessed those around him from a young age. When his younger brother Koby came along, the two of them were best buddies from the start. During his childhood, Derek’s Grandpa Roger taught him to fish, a hobby he continued enjoying throughout his life. He looked forward to weekend getaways at Devil’s Lake, North Dakota, and loved showing his daughter’s Tessa and Cora how to hook a worm, and looked forward to teaching his son Noah the craft. At Moorhead High School (Class of 2004), Derek was an avid hockey player and golfer, with a backswing that made him look like a pro. Most recently, he was able to get in a few rounds during a Montana family vacation. A sports fan in general, he enjoyed cheering on the Minnesota Wild Hockey, Minnesota Gopher Hockey, NDSU Bison Football, and the Minnesota Vikings.
During high school, Derek started working at Hornbacher’s as a bag boy and soon began climbing the ranks, reaching a manager position in several departments throughout his 17 years of employment. His work family was like a second family, and he always looked forward to volunteering on the annual United Way fundraising team.
Derek met Kay Mitchell in 2012 at a nutrition shake store. Once he saw her, he knew he would marry her. Soon he began visiting her store more and more frequently until he worked up the courage to ask her on a date. From that moment on, he was devoted to her in every way and cherished their relationship dearly, including stepping into the role of father to Kay’s 5-year-old niece, Tessa. Derek and Kay married in Moorhead on February 20, 2016, in a beautiful, sparkly, and snowy ceremony. That day, nothing could remove his enormous smile spread across his face as he knew he married the love of his life.
In 2015, Derek and Kay moved their family to Halstad, Minnesota, where they purchased their first house and with a lot of elbow grease, made it into a home. A couple of years later, they welcomed their daughter, Cora Anastasia in November 2017. They cherished their time in Halstad but decided to return to Moorhead in 2019, and in January 2020, they welcomed their son Noah Allen. Derek’s calling in life was being a father. He adored his three children and worked tirelessly to provide a good home for them and create memories together. He was the kind of dad who got down on the ground to play, wrestle, read books, and snuggle. With Derek, there was always an emphasis on family. As he grew into an adult, Derek stayed close with Dave and Kathy, visiting their home often during the week and always placed importance on coming together as a family for holidays and special celebrations. Derek was happiest when with his family.
Mid-October, Derek fell ill and sought treatment at Sanford. His symptoms aligned with COVID-19 so he was administered a test and quarantined until he received the negative results. On Sunday, October 18, Derek was admitted to the Sanford ICU, where they discovered the severity of his condition. That evening, when he coded the medical team recovered a pulse and spent the week helping his body heal. Unfortunately, a brain scan revealed our worst nightmare. On October 24, surrounded by his loving wife and immediate family, Derek was removed from life support and his beautiful soul left this world to be with God.
Derek is survived by his wife Kay and children Tessa, Cora, and Noah, parents David and Kathy Sway (Moorhead), brother Koby and sister-in-law Amanda (Omaha, Nebraska), several aunts, uncles, and cousins, and a niece and two nephews to whom he was a wonderful uncle. Derek is preceded in death by grandparents Roger and Pauline Geck (Moorhead) and Selmer and Lillian Sway (Moorhead).
The family is holding a private visitation and funeral service at Boulger Funeral Home on Friday, October 30, at 2:00 PM. The funeral will be livestreamed on Boulger’s website at 2:00 PM on Friday, October 30.
Memorial funds have been established at a GoFundMe webpage, which can be found by searching Support for Derek Sway’s Medical & Family Expenses. The family is grateful for the outpouring of love and support they are receiving during this difficult time.