Leonard N. Swingen, 103, passed away on Monday, July 27, 2020, just shy of his 104th birthday.
He was born in 1916 to Gilbert and Sena Swingen. Leonard attended Stoughton Schools and graduated in 1935.
While a junior in high school, Leonard started working after school and weekends at the Stoughton Courier Hub newspaper. He worked there more than 20 years until 1955. At that time, he went to work for Straus Printing in Madison until his retirement in 1982.
Leonard married June Evenson on Jan. 18, 1941, in Dubuque, Iowa. They remained Stoughton residents their entire lives.
Leonard served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, stationed on the aircraft carrier the U.S.S. Bunker Hill. At war’s end, the ship transitioned to be a part of “Operation Magic Carpet,” a mission to bring the troops home.
Leonard was a lifelong member of First Lutheran Church and a 76-year member of the American Legion Post No. 59. He was a past commander and past historian for many years. Leonard was a member of the Wednesday Nite Classic bowling league, in Stoughton, for 59 years. He also belonged to the Tuesday Nite Golf league for 20 years. Leonard was most proud of shooting a hole-in-one in 1987.
Leonard is survived by his daughter, Lynn (Robin) Robertson; grandson, Timm (Sarah) Robertson; two great-grandchildren, Hailie Lynn and Andre’ Finn; sister-in-law, Marjorie Swingen; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, June; six brothers; one sister; and their spouses.
Due to COVID-19, visitors may greet the family from their cars at Gunderson Stoughton Funeral and Cremation Care, 1358 Highway 51 N. at Jackson St., Stoughton, from 2 — 4 p.m., on Friday, Aug. 7, 2020. The funeral service will be private.
Memorials may be designated to First Lutheran Church, Stoughton, or Agrace HospiceCare, Fitchburg. That is the obituary that Dad wrote up, but being the quiet, humble guy he was, he left out some things. Dad wasn’t much for change. He bought and lived in the same house for 63 years. During that time, the neighborhood had many amazing get togethers – usually in our backyard. A clang of the horseshoes was the signal to grab your drinks, some food and the kids for an evening of fun. He was a printer for 47 years and got started because someone didn’t show up for work one morning. It was something Dad loved, and he made many friends in the business. During this time, he and Earl would carpool “their girls” to Madison to work on the square. Again – great friends to this day.
During “Operation Magic Carpet,” Dad would exchange his tobacco rations for the ship’s store rations so he could buy candy bars. He’d go through the ship looking for guys from Wisconsin. Dad would give the guy a candy bar and strike up a conversation. Sixty plus years later, at a luncheon at the VFW, Dad was approached by a gentleman that asked if he served on the Bunker Hill. Yes. The man went on to tell Dad someone gave him a candy bar. Dad said it was probably him, to which the gentleman replied that it was the best damn candy bar he had ever had. Again, a friend for life.
When Dad got back to Stoughton from the U.S. Navy, he became a member of the American Legion. He helped start a “lemonade stand” and tended bar – oops — served lemonade for 50 years. He was also a past commander and historian.
After mom passed, playing cards became his favorite outing. Dad would travel far and wide to play. He had so much fun for just a couple of quarters. So many laughs. Again, so many friends.
There are so many people to thank that have shared this journey of Dad’s life.
Of course, family and friends that would stop by or call him. Dr. Block, wherever you are, thank you for making Dad have by-pass surgery in 1988. We were expecting 15 to 18 more years, but that operation allowed him to be part of our lives for 32 more years. Dr. Agni, what a great doctor you have been to Dad over the years, and more importantly, a great friend. Stoughton Hospital and Drs. Patel, Schwaab and Stiers and the wonderful staff. Being “frequent fliers” over the years, we got to know you well and appreciated the wonderful care. Even when you thought you lost Dad……but he was only on the other side of the bed doing exercises on the floor….at 95.
Diane, thank you so much for your help and service to Dad these last two years. You helped him stay in his home until this spring. It was appreciated by all of us. The Agrace teams – all 40+ of you, Dad may have had to write your names down, but he, and we, will never forget your kindness over the last year and a half.
Through his many activities, Dad made and kept so many friends. Work, bowling, legion, VFW, golfing, cards, church and even the Agrace workers became so important to him. Dad was content with a smile, a laugh, and a hug, and maybe a Miller Lite now and then. Bless you all. Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.
Funeral & Cremation Care
1358 Highway 51 N. at Jackson St.