Eldon Swanson, 81, passed away peacefully on July 18, 2022.
He was born to Swan Emil Swanson and Myrtle Peterson Swanson in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1940. Eldon grew up in Minneapolis and attended Roosevelt High School, graduating in 1958.
Eldon went on to attend Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he met his longtime love and future wife, Nancy Margrethe Jensen. He played football and wrestled at Macalester and worked on road construction in the summer to pay for his college expenses while living in Minneapolis with his father. His mother passed away in 1959.
After graduating from Macalester in 1962 with a degree in business administration, Eldon enlisted in the U.S. Air Force serving 10 months in basic training at Wichita Falls and Lackland Air Force Bases in Texas. He continued serving in the Air National Guard for more than six years.
Eldon and Nancy were married on Oct. 11, 1963. The day after their wedding, they began their honeymoon in Hopkins, Minnesota, traveling to Los Angeles, California, where Eldon became Regional Sales Manager for Paragon Electric Company. They settled first in Alhambra then San Marino.
In 1965, Eldon was offered a position at the home office as marketing manager for Paragon. The couple moved to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, 30 miles from Green Bay and so began Eldon’s lifelong passion for the Green Bay Packers.
Son Eric was born in 1968 and, in 1970, the family moved back to Los Angeles and bought a home in San Marino, where they have lived since. Son Andy was born in 1971.
Eldon’s career took him on a path to many locations all within driving distance from San Marino. He retired in 2016 after 17 years as chief operating officer for a manufacturing company specializing in equipment for the military and commercial aeronautical industry.
As his sons were growing up, Eldon was very active in youth sports. He coached, refereed and lined fields for soccer every Saturday during the season. He became AYSO Soccer Commissioner for Region 40, which included Rosemead, San Gabriel and San Marino. He coached Little League teams for both sons all the way up to the Majors. He served on the board of San Marino High School Football Boosters and became board president in 1986. Nancy and Eldon volunteered as co-chairs of San Marino High School Grad Night in 1987.
Upon hiring, Eldon let each new company know that he would be coaching youth sports and sometimes leaving work early to attend games. All approved. And when it became his turn to have others reporting to him, he encouraged them to do the same. He often said he never regretted a minute of that time spent.
Vacations were spent skiing at Mammoth and locally, renting houses on the beach, spending weeks at family church camp, and taking road trips visiting
missions and parks in California, always with the family together. Dodger season tickets solidified lifelong family memories and loyalty to the Dodgers.
When the boys left for college and moved on with the next chapters of their lives, Eldon and Nancy traveled extensively. They traveled in Europe, renting cars and driving throughout the U.K., Sweden and Denmark, enjoyed river cruises, cruises on the Mediterranean Sea, Baltic Sea, Caribbean Islands, China and Alaska and explored cities and states in the United States. He was a meticulous planner and enjoyed every adventure with Nancy by his side.
Eldon joined the San Gabriel Country Club in 1990, served on the board of directors and became president in 1995. A favorite day was begun teeing off at the club, walking down the fairway, gazing at the mountains ahead and hoping for a par.
Back at the clubhouse, engaging with the friendly staff, he enjoyed lunch with his lifelong friends and often said, “I’m the luckiest man in the world.” He continued to play golf twice a week with his friends until the end of his life appreciating every round regardless of his final score.
Eldon and Nancy have been long time members of San Marino Community Church. He stepped into leadership roles as a deacon and twice an elder. He appreciated the Sunday worship services, small group Bible studies, and the many friendships made there.
After retiring, he served on the board of trustees of the Crowell Public Library of San Marino for six years, serving as president one year and assisting in the transfer from the manual system using library cards to the current check-out procedure.
In his later years, Eldon enjoyed being with all three of his grandchildren. He traveled to attend many of their soccer, baseball and football games, and especially enjoyed girls’ soccer, a unique experience for him after raising two sons. He cheered when his petite granddaughter, Taylor, got a yellow card, when his grandson, Josh, made a diving catch or got a clutch hit, or when his grandson, Sam, made a great tackle in football. When Taylor and Sam played lacrosse, a new sport for both, Eldon was eager to learn all about it.
He especially loved when the grandkids would stay at the house in San Marino, whether for a night, a week, holidays or on their way to somewhere else. He loved encouraging them to become Green Bay Packer fans as well as loyal Dodger fans.
Family texts during a Packer game were a true joy as he sat watching the game eating bratwurst with onions and mustard, his favorite food.
Eldon is survived by his wife of 58 years, Nancy; and his two sons, Eric and Andy; daughter-in-law, Aimee Swanson; his grandchildren, Taylor, Joshua and Sam Swanson; and his nephews, Steve and Jamie Swanson. He was preceded in death by his parents, Swan and Myrtle Swanson, and brother, Neil Swanson.
A celebration of life will be held on Friday, Aug. 12, 11 a.m. at San Marino Community Church followed by a luncheon reception at San Gabriel Country Club.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Eldon’s name may be sent to San Marino Community Church Foundation Education Fund.