MARQUETTE, MI. - Donald G. Swajanen, age 83, of Marquette, entered eternal life Friday afternoon, May 9, 2014, at the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans, in the loving, comforting care of his family, the Jacobetti staff, and Lake Superior Hospice.
Don was born in Marquette on August 28, 1930, the son of John and Jeanette (Vadnais) Swajanen, and was raised in Marquette.
He graduated from Graveraet High School and enrolled at Northern Michigan University, pursing a degree in education. While at Northern, he enlisted in the United States Army, serving his country during the Korean Conflict. Following his honorable discharge, Don continued his education at Northern where he received his Bachelors Degree in Education.
He then began what would become a 40 year teaching and educational career, with his first teaching assignment in Cedarville, Michigan, where he later became principal. Other career assignments followed at Ewen-Trout Creek, Chassell, Alba, and finally Gwinn.
During his teaching career, Don continued his education at NMU, receiving his Masters Degree in Education. When he retired, he completed over 40 years of teaching and administering students. He was proud to have provided knowledge, leadership, advice, and friendship to students.
Teaching to Don was more than lecturing, it was making the student number one and assisting them with the needed tools for life.
In his leisure time, Don loved sports and hunting and coached hockey, baseball, track. Don also enjoyed the Bridge Club, bingo, going to the casino, hunting, a good crossword puzzle, playing teacher with his grandchildren, watching Tiger baseball and Packer football, and he especially loved going to camp with his dog, Jake. He was a member of St. Christopher Catholic Church and Richard Jopling Post #44 of the American Legion where he served on the legion baseball board.
Don is survived by his wife of 56 years, Darlene (Quinnell) Swajanen; four daughters, Pamela Morris of Marquette, Jolene (Robert) Walker of West Finley, PA, Jan (Todd) St. Germain of Palmer, and Melissa (Daron) Ledford of Franklin, OH; and his son, Derek (Dana) Swajanen of Marquette; 15 grandchildren, Brad, Charisse (Joshua Harju) and Kyle Morris, Jordanna (David) Hostler, Brittany (Kevin) Yohe, Morgan Hewitt, Joshua, Kelly, and Ethan St. Germain, Elizabeth Swajanen, Haley Ledford, Taylor, Hannah, Gabriella, and Charlyeann Swajanen; 5 great-grandchildren, Scottlyn Harju, Madeleine and Olivia Hostler, Julianne and Brock Yohe; his brother, John "Cookie" (Judy) Swajanen; his sister, Sally (Jack) Rolando; numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. Don was preceded in death by his parents; his sisters and brothers-in- law, Donna and Richard Swanson, Mary "Tootie" and Donald Washburn; two infant siblings; son-in-law, Randall Morris; and his canine companion, Jake.
The family will receive relatives and friends at St. Christopher Catholic Church on Tuesday, May 13, beginning at 10:00 am. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 12:00 noon Tuesday with Rev. Ben Paris as celebrant.
Family members will serve as escorts. A reception will follow in the church fellowship hall.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Activity Fund at the Jacobetti Home for Veterans, 425 Fisher Street, Marquette, MI 49855.
The Fassbender Funeral Home is serving the family, where condolences may be expressed online at fassbenderfuneralhome.com.