Steven William Swift passed away peacefully at his home on May 1, 2017 with his wife, Kathy, by his side. He was diagnosed with Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) in 2013 and had been under the care of Marshall Avera Hospice since the fall of 2016. Steve was born on September 2, 1950 to Raymond and Verna (Engesser) Swift. He was baptized and confirmed at the Congregational Church in Garvin, MN. A long-time resident of Balaton, he attended Balaton High School and graduated in 1968.
In 1969, he married Katherine Manion at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Tracy MN. After their marriage, the couple lived in Jones, MI where Steve attended college in Dowagiac. Following the birth of their only child, Sarah (Baker), Steve and Kathy returned to Balaton. Steve continued his education at SMSU in Marshall, majoring in Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
Steve enjoyed a varied and interesting professional life, following his passions for science, nature, and detail-oriented work. He spent many years as a drafter and during that time, he designed several houses in the Marshall and Balaton area as well as the buildings at Knudson-Bosley Memorial Park on the shores of Lake Yankton. In 1985, Steve and Kathy purchased the Balaton Press-Tribune newspaper, which they operated until 1996.
For the past 30 years, he devoted his life to building a successful commercial beekeeping business. Steve operated Swift Apiaries primarily in Minnesota and South Dakota, and over-wintered his bees in Texas and traveled to California for almond pollination. His innovative thinking and pursuit of perfection led him to develop specialized pollen-collecting methods that earned him loyal business partners from around the U.S.
Often a man of few words, Steve's depth and breadth of knowledge was a source of inspiration to his family and those who knew him well. There was not a birdcall he couldn't recognize, name, and replicate with his signature whistles; not a prairie flower or grass that went unnoticed on a walk. Steve was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed many hunting and fishing trips throughout his life. He treasured his hunting mementos and memories and relished re-telling the details of those outdoor adventures.
As the MSA progressed over the past three years and limited his mobility, Steve maintained his signature willpower and determined intellectual focus. He continued his life-long pursuit of knowledge and learning. He read voraciously and spent time watching history, science, and current events on TV. He took great joy in spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren.
Steve's presence will be deeply missed by his wife Kathy, daughter Sarah (Baker), son-in-law Joe Baker, and beloved grandchildren Matthew and Katherine. Steve was preceded in death by his father Raymond Swift; paternal grandparents Sayle and Mary Swift; and maternal grandparents Pete and Pearl Engesser. He is survived by his mother Verna Swift of Balaton; sister Sandy Wiseman of Marcellus, MI; brother and sister-in-law Doug and Bev Swift of Balaton, and brother and sister-in-law Jeff and Lori Swift of Hutchinson; brothers and sisters-in law Karen and Bill Cole, Marshall, Tom and Sandy Manion, Fountain MN, Margaret and Craig Walden, Guilford, CT.
Memorial service will be held at Lakeside Cemetery, Balaton MN, on Friday, May 19 at 11 a.m., followed by lunch and gathering at Steve and Kathy's home.
In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to Avera Hospice, Marshall or a donation to your favorite charity.
Blessed be his memory.
Friday, May 19, 2017