Cover photo for Dorothy J. Swain's Obituary
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Dorothy J. Swain

April 28, 1933 — June 19, 2023

Cherokee, Iowa

Dorothy J. Swain

 

Dorothy Swain passed away peacefully on June 19, 2023 after a lengthy illness.

 

Dorothy Swain (née Wubbena) was born in 1933 on her family’s farm near Ashton, IA. She was the second of three daughters born to Joe and Josephine Wubbena.  After graduating from Ashton High School as valedictorian (of her class of three), Dorothy left the farm for Minneapolis where she worked her way through a medical technology training program. She then enrolled first at Morningside college, then at the University of South Dakota, where she ultimately earned a Master of Science degree in Bacteriology.

 

While an undergraduate at USD, Dorothy met Dan Swain.  Smart, sweet, and a man of sterling character, Dan won Dort’s hand in marriage with his goofy charm.  Dorothy has disputed this, but at least we know it wasn’t for his money. Together, Dan and Dort raised three (mostly) well-behaved children and an assortment of rather less-than-well-behaved dogs.

 

The family lived for a time in rural Minnesota, then in suburban Washington D.C., before settling in Cherokee, IA, where they lived for over 50 years.  For many of those years in Cherokee, Dorothy worked as a medical microbiologist at Sioux Valley Hospital. Intolerant of injustice (and, it must be said, of authority), Dorothy was a thorn in the side of a succession of hospital administrators, a role she relished.

 

After retiring from Sioux Valley, Dorothy worked for a time as an area restaurant inspector.  She also taught microbiology part time at Western Iowa Tech community college.  Aside from these diversions, Dorothy and Dan’s main project in retirement was to build and decorate their dream cabin in the Black Hills of South Dakota. There, they entertained family, friends, and neighbors, and waged a half-hearted war on the flickers, voles, and marmots who sought to destroy their handiwork.

 

Dorothy was a legendary cook, specializing in baked goods—especially pies. She also created many beautiful quilts and knitted articles, although she refused to concern herself with gauge or a strict adherence to pattern. Known as “Monga” to her grandchildren, she often constructed one-of-a-kind gifts for them.  For example, when her youngest grandchild was in the throes of a turtle obsession, she made for him a naked stuffed toy turtle and a “turtle store” containing a variety of turtle outfits, each on individual hangers. No matter what the occasion, that turtle was appropriately dressed.  

 

Dorothy was generous with love, food, and advice.  Her heart was as big as South Dakota sunflower field.  She is surely now in heaven, baking pie in the sky, and probably offering the occasional “tip of advice”. 

 

Dorothy is survived by her children: Elisabeth (Jeff Klahn) Swain, Amy (Judd) Lyons, and Will (Suellen) Swain; her grandsons, Alex (Kara) Baldwin, Ben and Sam Lyons, Max and Henry Swain; a great grandson, Parker Baldwin; and a sister, Norma Wubbena.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dorothy J. Swain, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Visitation

Friday, June 30, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

All Saints Episcopal Church

121 W Marina Rd, Storm Lake, IA 50588

Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at the church.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Friday, June 30, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

All Saints Episcopal Church

121 W Marina Rd, Storm Lake, IA 50588

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Friday, June 30, 2023, at All Saints Episcopal Church in Storm Lake, IA.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Burial

Friday, June 30, 2023

2:30 - 3:00 pm (Central time)

Gilman Cemetery

Ashton, IA 51232

Burial will take place at 2:30 p.m. Friday, June 30, 2023, at Gilman Cemetery in Ashton, Iowa

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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