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Harold Swanson

Harold Otto Swanson

Saturday, April 20th, 1935 - Monday, March 2nd, 2020
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Obituary

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.
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  • Visitation

    Saturday, March 7th, 2020 | 12:00pm - 1:30pm
    When
    Saturday, March 7th, 2020 12:00pm - 1:30pm
    Location
    Trinity Lutheran Church
    Address
    2507 5th Ave
    South Milwaukee, WI 53172
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Saturday, March 7th, 2020 | 1:30pm
    When
    Saturday, March 7th, 2020 1:30pm
    Location
    Trinity Lutheran Church
    Address
    2507 5th Ave
    South Milwaukee, WI 53172
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email

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Robert R. Feller

Posted at 11:49am
I always enjoyed my conversations with Harold. We talked tennis, teaching, and family. He was an inspiration to me, and it saddens me that I never got the chance to thank him for the positive influence he has had only life. World lost a beautiful soul.
Bob Feller
Manitowoc Lincoln Tennis
HS

Heartfelt Sympathies Store

Posted at 07:24pm
To a man who did nothing but great things for our city and our sport. My appreciation, you were a mentor and friend. You will be missed. Thanks Todd
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PW

Peter Wilson

Posted at 11:30am
Harold was a friend and colleague at Prairie School. He had a good sense of humor, announcing that the tennis team would leave at 2:17 or some other unorthodox time. I remember him as a friend of students and someone who never capitalized on his own fame or reputation. He also saw the higher value of introducing young people with potential from South Milwaukee to Prairie School. He was a true gentleman.

Peter Wilson
Akron, OH
JD

John Dimond

Posted at 12:58pm
Mr. Swanson "Spider" was my 9th grade Bball coach in 1963. He was my all time favorite coach as it was always about the kids. You could not help but love him as a great Coach and a Civics Teacher. For my 9th grade Civics project of what I wanted to be in the future , I chose to be aTeacher. This was a direct result of his influence on me. In my 34 yr Teaching and Coaching career , I always remembered him, and kept in mind that it was always about the children . I've thought of him so many times over the years. God Bless , John Dimond
HS

Heartfelt Sympathies Store

Posted at 08:59am
You are all in our thoughts and prayers. "The memory of the righteous is a blessing..." Proverbs 10:7 With Love and Sympathy,
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