Ellsworth John Swalve was born Sept. 17, 1925, on the farm near Ledyard, the son of Otto and Elsie (Sleeper) Swalve. "Doc" as he was known, was raised and attended schools in Ledyard, Bancroft and Wallingford, Iowa. Following his education, Doc worked for several farmers around the Estherville area before enlisting in the United States Army in March 1945. Following basic training, Doc was stationed in Okinawa, Japan with the Engineer Depot Company. He was honorably discharged in October 1946 and returned to Estherville. From 1947 to 1960, Doc had worked at several John Deere dealers, Northern Lumber Co., Cass Motor and Implement, and Elwood Implement in Estherville. During that time, Doc also worked for Glen Mitchel Excavating digging water lines, basements and sewer lines in Estherville.
Doc was united in marriage to Betty Petersen May 30, 1953, in Jackson, Minn. The couple lived in Sioux City from 1960 to 1962 where he worked for Busker Implement. In 1962, they moved to Le Mars where Doc began working for Schenkelberg Implement which later became Van Beek Implement until 1975. He then began his own business, "Doc's Repair" in Oyens. He later purchased a shop in Alton and relocated the business to Alton. He continued "Doc's Repair" until his retirement in 1986. Doc continued to live in Oyens until December 2008 when he entered the Good Samaritan Society in Le Mars.
Doc and Betty have been longtime members of the Presbyterian United Church of Christ in Le Mars.
Doc was a member of the Wasmer American Legion Post #241 of Le Mars, Le Mars Eagles Arie 1381, and a life member of the Estherville V.F.W. Post 3388. He was very proud that he was able to help build the new V.F.W. Post in Estherville.
Doc enjoyed woodworking, taking care of his yard and gardening. His greatest joy were his children and grandchildren. When possible, Doc enjoyed attending the children's activities. Whenever his grandchildren had a broken toy or needed something made, they always came to Grandpa cause "he could fix anything."
Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Betty of Oyens; two sons, Steve Swalve and his wife Connie of Oyens and Gary Swalve and his wife Naomi of Clarksville, Tenn.; five grandchildren, Nicholas, Robert and Rebecca of Oyens and Danny and Alex of Clarksville, Tenn.; two brothers, Otto Swalve and his wife Norma and Andrew Swalve and his wife Rosella of Estherville; six sisters, Sena McGregor and her husband Forrest of Buffalo Center, Anna Schroeder, Anita Barlow and her husband Vern, Elsie Selberg and her husband Harold, Ada Williams, and Leona Kleine, all of Estherville; a brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Wayne and Vivian Peterson of Estherville; and several nieces and nephews.
Doc was preceded in death by his parents; a granddaughter, Kellen Swalve; four brothers and spouses, Richard and Ethel Swalve, Roy and Mata Swalve, Evert and Jennie Swalve, and Johnny and Nettie Isebrand; two sisters, Francis and Fred Beitz and Tillie and Vinal Bebo Graff; two brothers-in-law, Richard Williams and Charles Kleine; and a sister-in-law and her husband Dorothy and Don Lammers.
Visitation will be after 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Carlsen Funeral Home in Le Mars with the family present to greet friends after 5:30 p.m. followed by a 7 p.m. prayer service with the Rev. Jan Christiansen of the Presbyterian United Church of Christ officiating. Visitation will continue Thursday morning at the V.F.W Hall at Estherville from 11 a.m. until service time at 12:30 p.m. at the hall. Interment with military honors provided by the Estherville Honor Guard at the Eastside Cemetery, Estherville.
Pallbearers will be Nicholas, Robert, Rebecca, Danny and Alex Swalve and Lowell Swalve.
Expressions of sympathy can be extended to the family through www.carlsenfuneralhome.com.