Russell Neil Swensen, beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, community servant and dear friend, passed away suddenly Wednesday, April 30, 2014, at his home in Ammon. Russell was 86 years young, loved life, loved his wife, family, church, country and many friends.
He was born Nov. 13, 1927, to Neil and Wanda Swensen in St. Anthony. Russell graduated from St. Anthony High School, where he was active in Future Farmers of America, drama, debate, track and student government. Following graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and was stationed in Puerto Rico during World War II.
While home on leave, he married the love of his life, LaRue Schwendiman, on Oct. 9, 1947. They were later sealed together for time and all eternity May 30, 1953, in the Idaho Falls LDS Temple.
After his discharge, he engaged in farming and attended Ricks College. He earned his bachelor's degree in vocational education from Utah State. The next 11 years were spent teaching vocational agriculture at Bonneville High School.
The remainder of his career, until he retired in May 1995, was spent as an agricultural extension agent, field superintendent for the Upper Snake River Valley Dairymen's Association and agricultural representative for Idaho First National Bank and West One Bank. He always had a great love for agriculture.
In 1994, the Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce recognized his lifelong service to the agricultural industry by presenting him with the Silver Plow Award.
Russell served as a councilman for the City of Ammon from 1969 to 1983, and the following five years as mayor of Ammon. He was dedicated to the community and pursued many opportunities to help improve the city. By mayoral proclamation, the City of Ammon has designated May 6, 2014, as "Russell Swensen Day." Russell loved the USA and he would extol the virtues of the "Red, White and Blue" whenever he had the chance. He was always proud to have served his country and he was a current member of the American Legion and the Freedom First Society.
He was an active member of the LDS Church and served in many leadership positions and teaching capacities throughout his life.
Russell loved life and would find a friend wherever he went. His creed and the way he lived his life was to love all, keep thinking positive, and above all, keep smiling.
He is survived by his wife, LaRue; his children, Craig (Debbie) of Puyallup, Wash., Linden (Jenny) of Blair, Neb., Kirk of Ammon and GayLinn (Joe) Bradshaw of Murray, Utah; a brother, Boyd; three sisters, Darlene, Irene and Carol; 10 grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Funeral services will be held at noon Tuesday, May 6, at the Ammon 1st Ward, 3000 Central Ave. The family will visit with friends from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at Wood Funeral Home East Side, 963 S. Ammon Road, and from 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. prior to services at the church. Burial will be in Ammon Cemetery.
Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.woodfuneralhome.com.