Ellen Marie (Von Loh) Swenson, 69, of Halliday, ND went on to Glory April 24, 2016 after battling pancreatic cancer, following a lifetime of showing us grace, toughness and selflessness.
Services will be held at 10:00 AM MDT on Saturday, April 30, 2016 at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Halliday with Pastor Marv Mutzenberger officiating. Visitation will be held the evening before from 5:00 to 7:00 PM MDT at the church.
Born December 2, 1946 in Fort Morgan, CO, Ellen was the only daughter of William and Julia (Gengenbach) Von Loh. “Sis” was raised and educated, along with her eight brothers in Wiggins, CO. In 1964, she graduated from Wiggins High School as Salutatorian.
Ellen graduated from the University of Northern Colorado at Greeley in 1968 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Foreign Language Education with a minor in Social Studies. During this time she met and married Gaylor Harold Olson of Kloten, ND. To this marriage, two children were born; Kelly Brooke and Gregory Harold. They settled in North Dakota where Ellen’s teaching career included being Program Assistant for Cass County Expanded Nutrition Program at NDSU in Fargo. She also taught Social Studies in the Arthur and Hunter school systems. In 1974 they relocated to Dodge, ND where she taught Social Studies and French. Shortly after their move, Gaylor and Gregory tragically lost their lives in a fishing accident on Lake Sakakawea.
Ellen chose to stay and continue teaching thanks to the kindness and support showed by the communities of Dodge and Halliday. She met David Swenson of Halliday while attending area social functions. On their first date, David insisted on taking both Ellen and her young daughter Kelly to a family friendly movie at the Halliday Theatre. They were married July 24, 1976 in Dodge, ND and made their home on the family farm south of Halliday where they weathered the tough times and enjoyed the good times in agriculture. To this union Douglas Alton and Allison Marie were born.
Ellen spent the next years working as a homemaker and raising her children. She loved supporting her kids in their activities and sports. Ellen was very proud of their many accomplishments both on and off the court. She continued to teach by substituting in Halliday, Dodge, Golden Valley and Twin Buttes for various classes.
Ellen served on the Dunn County Social Services Board for 35 years; the West River Health Board and West River Conference of Social Welfare for 30 years where she was elected as Vice President and President at various times. She was also active in the Homemakers Club, Our Saviors WELCA, and the Halliday PTSO. She also enjoyed hobbies such as cooking, cross stitching, painting and watching reruns of The Andy Griffith Show, I Love Lucy, and The Waltons.
In 2003, when her children were grown, Ellen decided to put her Lifetime Teaching Certificate to good use and went back to teaching full time at the Halliday Public School. She worked with many students who needed extra help in the classroom. She would spend hours preparing and customizing the lessons to help the individual students learn the subject matter. Her fellow teachers knew she was always there, willing to help a student, whenever it was needed. Ellen was very proud of all her students who made it to that graduation day. She was honored to be a part of the Halliday Public School system that educated her children, as well as the many local children she grew to know and love.
A life well lived, as Ellen said at the end “It’s the dash that really counts, 1946- 2016”.
Ellen is survived by her loving family who will forever be in her heart; husband, David Alton Swenson of Halliday; two daughters, Kelly (Scott) Arntzen of Dickinson, ND and Allison Swenson of West Fargo, ND; one son Douglas (Carissa) Swenson of Halliday; four grandchildren, Dylan Arntzen, Sydney Arntzen, Dalton Swenson and Patton Swenson; five brothers, Allen (Margy) Von Loh, Willie (Gayle) Von Loh, Ray (Judy) Von Loh, George (Faye) Von Loh, and Jim (Jan) Von Loh; four brothers and sisters-in-law, Dorothy Swenson, Charlotte (Daniel) Neurohr, James (Darlene) Swenson, and Julie (Wayne) Rowe; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Ellen was preceded in death by her grandparents, parents, her first husband, Gaylor Olson, her son, Gregory Olson, her brothers, Faye Von Loh, Paul Von Loh, Ron Von Loh, one infant brother and many aunts, uncles and cousins.
Arrangements conducted by Barbot Funeral Home, Beulah and Hazen.