WDAY.com |

North Dakota's #1 news website 10,650,498 page views — March 2014

Published March 03, 2013, 12:00 AM

William Swanston II

William Doyle Swanston, age almost 85, of Fargo, ND, headed to the 19th hole in the sky on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at Bethany Retirement Living in Fargo, ND. Known as Bill or "Swanny" to his friends, he passed away after a life of love, family, business and golf.

He was born on March 14, 1928 to William Milton and Kathleen Clare (Doyle). He grew up in Fargo with his summers spent at his parents' lake house on Lake Melissa. He caddied in the summers at Detroit Lakes Country Club and that began his lifetime love of the game of golf.

William Swanston II

William Doyle Swanston, age almost 85, of Fargo, ND, headed to the 19th hole in the sky on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at Bethany Retirement Living in Fargo, ND. Known as Bill or "Swanny" to his friends, he passed away after a life of love, family, business and golf.

He was born on March 14, 1928 to William Milton and Kathleen Clare (Doyle). He grew up in Fargo with his summers spent at his parents' lake house on Lake Melissa. He caddied in the summers at Detroit Lakes Country Club and that began his lifetime love of the game of golf.

He attended Central High School and eventually graduated from NDSU where he enjoyed all the somber activities that went with being a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. Bill served honorably in the Army and his military service was directly tied to the improvement in his golf game.

After his military service, Bill returned to Fargo where he joined his father's company. Under Bill's leadership, Swanston Equipment Company evolved from selling Nash automobiles to selling heavy construction equipment. Swanston Equipment was one of the first Bobcat distributors in the U.S.

While he had met Kathy growing up, it was after his military service that he met her again while she was working as an interior designer at her parents' store, Colman's. Bill and Kathy fell in love and were married soon after being reintroduced. Kathy was the love of Bill's life and Kathy's mother Frieda was Bill's dearest friend until she passed away.

Bill's business was growing and he became interested in the road striping business. He was a pioneer in pavement markings, helping to privatize the road and airport marking industry. Kathy and Bill entertained their customers regularly. He was very active in many trade associations including the Associated General Contractors (AGC) and the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA).

Bill was an avid pilot who loved flying his Bonanza. He flew all over the tri-state area and more than once, he and Kathy flew all the way to Mexico. He proudly served on the Aeronautical Board.

Nicknamed the Grand Old Man of Golf by his friend, sportscaster, Jim Adelson, Swanny lived for the links. He won many tournaments in the tri-state area, including the Fargo All City, the Pine to Palm Senior Division, the North Dakota Senior Amateur, and his proudest victory, winning the North Dakota State Amateur Tournament.

Not only was he an avid participant, he was a supporter and booster of the game of golf. He supported North Dakota Junior Golf. He was the enthusiastic president of the Fargo Country Club. He was a proud member of the United States Golf Association (USGA) from 1955 until his death, and was commended for thirty years of service (1955-1985) on the Rules Committee.

In 1975, with partners Dick Herbst, Doug Schnell and John McCormick, he realized a dream of building a golf course. The idea of Oxbow was turned into reality and the course continues to be highly regarded.

Bill and Kathy have spent their winters in Scottsdale since 1977 where they built their home at Pinnacle Peak Country Club. Bill led the Greens Committee for many years. His later years were happily spent with mornings on the golf course and afternoons in the card room with his friends. His nickname at Pinnacle Peak was "Grumpy".

Their summers were always spent at their lake home, in their early days on Lake Sally, and from 1964 until present on Lake Melissa. His favorite place in the world was his lake house with his beloved Kathy.

Bill is survived by his wife, Kathy; his children, Robin Swanston Ray, Mike (Linda) Swanston, Kelly

Swanston (Dana) Woudenberg; grandchildren, Robb Ray, Michaela Swanston Haug, and Molly Swanston; and great-grandchildren, Dawn Ray and Elsa Haug. He also leaves three sisters, Mary Kay Carlson (Don) Gronbeck, Elizabeth Ann Ostby, and Maggie (Bill) Brown.

He was preceded in death by his brother, Joseph; and his parents.

Bill will be remembered as a loving father, a fierce competitor, a creative businessman and a good friend. He loved his family, especially his wife, Kathy, and he will be remembered for his quick wit and sense of humor.

The family would like to thank the staff at Bethany for their kind and giving care. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Bill's name to either Hospice of the Red River Valley, 1701 38th Street S, Ste 101, Fargo, ND 58103, or FM Junior Golf c/o North Dakota Open Foundation, Fargo Country Club, 509 26th Ave S, Fargo, ND 58103.

Funeral: Tuesday, March 5, 2013, 2:00 PM at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, Fargo, ND.

Visitation: Monday, from 7:00 - 8:00 PM at Hanson-Runsvold Funeral Home, followed by a Prayer Service at 7:30 PM.

Please feel free to sign the online guestbook at www.hansonrunsvold.com

Tags: