Carol Mae Swenson of Baxter, MN passed away suddenly and peacefully on May 26, 2020 at the age of 82. Carol, the youngest child of three to Harold and Alma McNamee, lived most of her life in the Pequot Lakes and Pine River area. She was a quiet, unassuming individual and from a worldly perspective, her list of accomplishments would look small, however it is her self-sacrificing spirit for which her three daughters would like to honor her.
Carol was born in Watertown, SD where she attended country schools until 5th grade with her brothers Harold and Lowell. She then moved to Pine River, MN where she graduated. While she only completed high school, she loved learning. By word and example, she taught her daughters to pursue knowledge, to do their best and not let the fear of failure hold them back. But it wasn’t her education or experiences that defined her. Her investments in her relationships and friendships was what really brought her joy, never ceasing to ask her three daughters, Kimberly (Jerry) Fast, Jackie (Bill) Dale, Debbie (Ross) Krautkremer, her 10 grandchildren, and 5 great grandchildren how they were doing.
Even though Carol wasn’t geographically near to many of her grandchildren and great grandchildren, she showed her love by collecting pennies and gifting whole piggy banks to them, starting in 1984 at the birth of her first grandchild. Though she loved her grandchildren, she did terrify them many times with her driving skills.
Carol was known to be a fierce card player, with a notorious sweet tooth, who loved a new pair of shoes to go with her plethora of neck scarves. When living alone, she stayed festive by decorating for any and all holidays, changing them out with prompt savviness for each coming event.
Determination is a word that best describes Carol. She lived with Multiple Sclerosis for over 40 years yet she was an avid fighter for her health and independence, continually staying fit by taking a walk and riding the stationary bike, never failing to believe that she would defeat the disease. In her later years, she moved to Edgewood Vista in Brainerd where she became richer with new friendships and nourished old ones, not to mention, where she won the bike riding contest in 2019. Even as the strength in her limbs diminished, she continued to exercise faithfully believing she would walk again. Today she is not only walking, but dancing in Heaven.
Because her confidence in God was so important to her, she taught her family that it is not “what you do that matters but who you are.” She lived out her quiet faith by pouring herself into her family and friends. She lived with her arms open as wide as her heart, ready to wrap her love around anyone who needed it. In the end, she lived a simple life, rich with family and friends and away from the spotlight, exactly how she wanted it.
Because of the COVID 19 restrictions, she is being remembered with a private family burial in Pine River, MN. A celebration of her life will be planned for later this summer with family and friends.
We mustn't think of all those that she left who dearly loved her, but of those she returned to and who she is now walking with, her mother & best friend, her father, countless friends and of course Jesus. Mom, grandma, great-grandma, Carol. We love you and miss you. Walk, skip and dance.
Cards of remembrance can reach the family care of Debbie Krautkremer, PO Box 224, Nisswa, MN 56468.