Simon Paul Schwan, 98, Michigan, ND, was called home to the Lord, January 26, 2023.
Simon was born February 28, 1924, to Denis and Barbara (Volk) Schwan. Born at home, he grew up on a farm in the close-knit German-Russian community of Fulda, rural Berwick, near Rugby, ND. The family moved to Cando in 1942 and in 1947 to Rutten, rural Devils Lake.
Simon was a devout Catholic all his life. He served on the parish council of St. Lawrence O’Toole Catholic Church, taught CCD classes, was available when the pastor needed assistance, and was an active 4th degree Knight of Columbus, and a daily mass communicant.
Simon was a dedicated life-long farmer, growing wheat, barley, flax, and oats. He had a beef herd, experimenting with different breeds, raised sheep, chickens, and loved horses, especially Arabian horses, and used them for rounding up cattle and riding in local parades. He helped to harvest the crops in 2020, at age 96! He shared this enthusiasm for farming as a 4-H leader and served as a board member and president of the local grain elevator. He also volunteered as a fireman in Michigan, ND during the 1960’s.
Simon had an artistic side expressed by the murals he painted on the barn and shop and the woodwork he did. He had a mischievous sense of humor, often trying to pull the leg on his audience.
In 1940 Simon suffered a serious break of his right foot after which he limped the remainder of his life. When called up for military service in WWII he was rejected because of this foot. This enabled him to be employed at Kaiser shipyards in Richmond, CA, building the famous liberty ships where he learned the art of welding, which he used to great benefit to repair farm equipment and build items later in life.
While Simon was laid up recuperating from pneumonia, he joined a correspondence club called the Corey Club, sponsored by the Catholic magazine, St. Anthony’s Messenger, equivalent to today’s Facebook and Instagram. It was through this correspondence that he met his future wife, Patricia Ann Richardson, Fairgrove, MI, in 1946. Simon and Pat were joined in matrimony at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Caro, Michigan, November 25, 1947, a marriage that lasted to its 74th year!
Simon and Pat took up residence in Michigan, ND, in the fall of 1948, when they rented the Shirley farm north of Michigan. They rented the Lamb farm south of Michigan from Gus Lamb, moving there in 1951, and finally purchased the farm they called home, from the estate of Jack Minassian, in 1959.
Simon was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Patricia; his parents, Denis and Barbara Volk Schwan; his siblings, Vincent (Barbara), Mary (Joe) Lauinger, Sister Barbara Marie, OSF, Margaret (John) Brinster, Matilda (Stan) Burkholder, Monica (Mel) Nelson, David (Betty), Al, Bertha (Dick) Schell, Maurice, Otilia, two sisters, Margaret and Matilda, in infancy; his parents-in-law, Ernest and Mary Mulvaney Richardson; his brother-in-law, Ernie (Maxine) Richardson; and a son-in-law, Michael Klawitter.
Simon will be missed by his seven children, Mary Pat Klawitter, Euclid, MN, Lucy (John) Hanninen, Grand Forks, Abbot Paul Mark, OCSO, Vina, CA, Victor (Jodi), Michigan, Roger (LaDonna), Michigan, Rita (Jeff) Mootz, Hillsboro, and Margaret (Tim) Bauer, Bemidji, MN; his sister, Frances, Devils Lake; sisters-in-law, Rosemary Schwan, Devils Lake, and Phyllis Rank, Hitchcock, SD; his 14 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren, and 3 great-great-grandchildren. Simon has numerous nephews and nieces as well as step-grandchildren and step-great grandchildren who experienced him as a loving, concerned, grandfather and great-grandfather.
The family is grateful to the Nelson County Health Services Care Center, McVille, where Simon resided his last two years for the dedicated, generous care they showed our father. Your thoughtfulness will be held in our hearts in grateful memory.
In lieu of flowers the family respectfully requests giving to a favorite charity or to the Nelson County Right to Life or St. Gianna’s Maternity Home.
Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 am on Thursday, May 18, 2023 at St. Lawrence O’Toole Catholic Church, Michigan, ND, with visitation from 9:30-10:30 am. Visitation will be from 6-7 pm with a Prayer Service at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, May 17, 2023 at St. Lawrence O’Toole Catholic Church, Michigan, ND. Burial will be at the Michigan Cemetery, Michigan, ND, following the Mass. The Aaker Funeral Home of Lakota, ND www.iversonkassianfuneralservices.com