Harold Otto "Coach" Swanson
of South Milwaukee died Mar. 2 at Froedtert Hospital after experiencing a fall at home. He was born April 20, 1935, in South Milwaukee to Carl Swanson and Marion (Zimdars) Swanson. Harold had a long career: successful athlete, middle school teacher, a 59-year career as a tennis teacher and coach, and a lifetime as a counselor and mentor to anyone who had a need. Harold graduated from South Milwaukee High School in 1953. He was a starter and captain of the basketball team that won the Wisconsin State High School tournament in 1952. He went on to attend the University of Minnesota where he lettered for four years in basketball and tennis, serving as captain of the tennis team for two years. Following college, he taught at LeRoy, MN, and then returned to the University to earn an MA degree. He taught tennis for two summers at the Rochester, MN, Tennis Club. He then returned to Milwaukee where he served as the first tennis pro at the Western Racquet Club in Elm Grove, a position he held for 10 years. He also taught middle school in South Milwaukee. In 1970 he joined the faculty at The Prairie School in Racine teaching Middle School, coaching boys' and girls' tennis teams and running a busy lesson schedule in the summer.
He taught in the middle school until he was 66 and continued coaching tennis until he was 81.
He is a member of the Tennis Coaches Hall of Fame for Wisconsin.
Harold married Kathryn Lindall in Westbrook, MN, on June 9, 1962. She survives him. Harold and Kathryn had three children: Kristen Swanson (Walt Reichelt) of South Milwaukee and sons Dr. Thor and the Reverend Erik (Melinda) of Barberton, Ohio. Thor preceded him in death in 2015. Grandchildren are Siri Reichelt of South Milwaukee; Trina, Kari and Johanna Swanson of Sioux City, IA, and Kathryn, Lydia, Hannah and Isaac Swanson of Barberton, OH.
He is also survived by one sister, Inez Stracke, Walnut Creek, CA. He was preceded in death by two siblings: Betty Lou Welbes and Carl Swanson. He is also survived by brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews.
The memorial service is Saturday, March 7, at 1:30 pm at Trinity Lutheran Church, 2507 5th Ave., So. Milwaukee. Friends may call from 12 - 1:30 pm. Memorials may be made to the Harold Swanson Scholarship at The Prairie School, 4050 Lighthouse Dr., Racine, WI, 53402, or to Trinity Lutheran Church.