Fern Swensen, 85 of Vermillion, formally of Wakonda and Elk Point, passed away on March 23, 2019 at the Sanford Care Center in Vermillion. Memorial Service will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, March 28, 2019 at the Hofmeister-Jones Funeral Chapel in Viborg. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service.
Fern was born on Jan. 16, 1934 in rural Clay County, SD, near Westersville, to Alfred and Esther (Brouillette) Ellison.
On December 10, 1955, Fern married Irl C Swensen of Wakonda. Together they raised two children, Paul and Christine. They lived in several places including Sioux Falls and Los Angeles, California, before moving back home to Wakonda. Fern worked at the Wakonda Heritage Manor nursing home before her retirement in 1998. She held various positions from nurse's aide to head of housekeeping.
Fern loved the outdoors. She was often spotted by several farmers driving her car around the country side in search of asparagus in the road ditches. Fern was known for her large well-tended garden—that would feed her family well into the winter. She was very proud of, and often told others of, all the buckets of big, red, juicy strawberries that she picked from her garden. Fern loved animals. In addition to raising chickens, geese, ducks, pheasants, turkeys, and a few cows, she loved her miniature horses and her poodles.
Fern was most passionate about fishing. She would pack up her night crawlers (she preferred the "big" Canadians), her rod and reel with 80 lbs. test line (she didn't want the "big one" getting away), a few sandwiches, her Pepsi, and off she would go on another fishing adventure with family and friends. Fern was devoted to her family and her faith. She enjoyed spending time with her children and grandchildren. She was an avid reader of the Bible, and involved in various ways with her church. Fern was a hard worker, she was very creative, and skilled in all that she set her mind to. She had a kind heart and a generous spirit, she gave away more than she ever kept.
Fern is survived by her children, Paul (Sandy Lee) Swensen of Boston, Massachusetts and Christine "Chris" (Cliff Jr.) Haines of Elk Point; three grandchildren, Eric Haines (Kayla Biernbaum) of Dakota Dunes, Elysia Buehner (Trevan Edgar) of Sioux Falls, and Siena Swensen of Boston, Massachusetts; one brother, Robert Ellison and his wife, Patty Gigliotti Ellison of Omaha, Nebraska; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and long-time friend and cousin, Carol Larson. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; sisters, Glennis, Lois, and Helen; and two brothers, Larry and Allen.