DeKALB – Howard Alexander "Al" Swan Jr., 77, of DeKalb, Illinois, died Saturday, July 19, 2014, at OSF St. Anthony Medical Center, Rockford.|
Born Sept. 3, 1936, in Mancelona, Michigan, the son of Howard A. Swan Sr. and Elinor (Clugg) Swan, Howard completed high school in Rogers City, Michigan, where his father owned a jewelry store. After high school, he graduated from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and then attended University of Dubuque (Iowa), graduating with a degree in teaching.
During this time he married the love of his life, Glena Jo Adams on June 6, 1959, in Chicago.
His first teaching job was at Galena Illinois Junior High. He then served as a student pastor at the Rowley, Iowa, Methodist Church, while completing his graduate degrees at the University of Iowa.
Howard was a professor at William Penn College in Oskaloosa, Iowa, before he became Dean of Students there. The family moved in 1967 to DeKalb, where he became a professor in the College of Education at Northern Illinois University. He was the director of the Learning Center for a number of years before his retirement in 1994.
Since the '70s, Howard/ "Al" was a member of Hillcrest Covenant Church in DeKalb, where he held various leadership positions and sang in the choir.
He was passionate about boating, especially long-distance cruising on the Great Lakes (and the Great Loop) and passed this on to his family. He learned watch-making and jewelry skills from his father. He was the "go-to" adviser for DIY projects and for shoppers needing anything from cars to jewelry. He also was a passionate conservative and followed the news closely. However, his faith and love for God guided his life. Following closely was his love for sharing life, love and experiences with his family and his beloved dog, Abby. His sour-dough pancakes, pork burritos, fresh salsa and homemade popcorn are family favorites.
He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Jo; children, Beth (Andy) Vanko, Alec (Bessie) Swan, Kim (Mark) Rasmussen and Becky (Scott) Sisler; grandchildren, Josh (Courtney) Geidel, Joe Geidel, Jeremy (Crystal) Geidel, Alec Swan IV, Bella Swan, Jason Swan, Ned Swan, Aaron (Laura) Rasmussen, Josie Rasmussen, Cara Sisler, Brian Sisler and Nathan Sisler; great-grandson, Graham Geidel; sisters, Della Blair and Cammie (Don) Andrews; nephew, Dan (Gloria) Ryerson of Rogers City, Michigan; as well as many other cousins, nieces and nephews. He also was the much-loved "adopted" grandfather of Kris, Maya, Marta and Justina Siuba, Kezya (Doug) Newmann and Bryanna (Adam) Grant.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Howard and Elinor Swan; infant sister; and brother, Michael.
The celebration of the life of Howard Swan will be Saturday, Aug. 2, at Hillcrest Covenant Church in DeKalb. An open house with a light meal will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. with the service afterward.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the organization of the donor's choosing: National MS Society, Feed My Starving Children or Hillcrest Covenant Church.
For information, visit www.AndersonFuneralHomeLtd.com or call Anderson Funeral Home, DeKalb, at 815-756-1022.
To sign the online guest book, visit www.legacy.com/daily-chronicle.
Published in Daily Chronicle on July 22, 2014