Oswald E. Swenson, 1951

U.S. Veteran Oswald “Ozzie” E. Swenson, age 91, of Lake Mills, died on Sunday, March 10, 2013, at the Lake Mills Care Center in Lake Mills, Iowa.

Funeral services were March 13, 2013, at Salem Lutheran Church in Lake Mills with Pastor David E. Jordon officiating. Burial was in Salem Memorial Cemetery, rural Lake Mills, with military honors conducted by the Otto Chose Post #235.

Oswald Earl Swenson was born on Feb. 15, 1922, to Gilbert and Ellen (Charlson) Swenson on the family farm between Leland and Lake Mills, Iowa. He was the second born of a family of seven and the first boy.

After graduating from Lake Mills High School in 1940, he helped on the farm and then enlisted in the Navy in 1942 when World War II started. He was first based in New York, and later assigned to Key West, Florida. After his discharge in December 1945, he helped on the family farm until starting college in the fall of 1946.

He attended one year at Iowa State, then transferred to Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, graduating in 1951 with a major in physics.

His first job was in Monona, Iowa, teaching math and science for one year. His next job was at Boeing in Seattle, Washington, as an engineer. Later he moved to Lockheed at Burbank, California, for five years as a flight test engineer. From there he worked for Ford Aerospace and finally to NASA Ames Research Center’s Aeromechanics Lab from which he retired at the age of 70.

Oswald married Amy Gabbay in May 1963. Ozzie and Amy were animal lovers and had many spoiled dogs as pets through the years. He also had a love for farming and always had plants around his home and work area. He and Amy also loved to travel and took many trips to 34 countries, including Norway, Switzerland and Israel. He was always very generous with gifts and had a great love for his family and friends. His family looked forward to his annual fruitcakes at Christmas.

Ozzie and Amy moved from California to the Lake Mills Care Center in October of 2011 and enjoyed being much closer to family.

Amy died July 20, 2012 at the Lake Mills Care Center.

Survivors include sisters Rhoda Brue and Marie Luff; sisters-in-law Marlys Swenson and Mary Swenson; brothers-in-law Arnold Ottjes, Don Luff, Jacob Gabbay and Oved Gabbay; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Amy; sister Millie Ottjes; brothers Gordon Swenson, Wallace Swenson and infant James Richard; a brother-in-law Charles Brue; and nephew Mark Ottjes.


He was a member of Heritage Club and President’s Council at Luther College.