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Rueben Clifford Svingen

December 6, 1919 April 20, 2014
Rueben Clifford Svingen
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Obituary for Rueben Clifford Svingen

Fergus Falls, MN


      Rueben Clifford Svingen, 94, passed away on Easter morning, April 20, 2014 at Mill Street Residence in Fergus Falls, MN.

      He was born December 6, 1919 in rural Swift County, MN to Christ and Johanna Svingen. He was baptized and confirmed at Lake Hazel Lutheran Church in rural Benson. He attended country school there, learning to speak English, in addition to the Norwegian spoken at home. He continued to speak Norwegian until the day before he died, singing “Easter Morning” in that language to his son, Kris.

      After graduating from Benson High School in 1938, he attended St. Olaf College where he sang in the Viking Chorus. Singing, especially hymns, was very important to him and he enjoyed talking about being part of the Lake Hazel Quartet, along with his brother Thov, and how they would sing at the Swift County Fair.

      After graduating from St. Olaf in 1942, Rueben joined the U.S. Navy, serving in the South Pacific during World War Two, rising to the rank of chief petty officer. After his discharge in 1946, he began teaching science in the Worthington, MN school system, where he continued until his retirement in 1979. He then began full-time carpentry work with Johnson and Sons in Worthington, for whom he had worked summers for many years.

      On June 24, 1949 he married Ruth Tripp at the First Presbyterian Church in Worthington. Together they raised two sons at 1223 N. Church Avenue where he employed his carpentry skills in expanding their home over the years. He lived at that address for 63 years until his move to Fergus Falls in 2012.

      Rueben was a life-long sports fan, serving as scorekeeper and announcer for high school athletics. He enjoyed golfing with friends, coaching youth baseball and football, and seldom missed an inning of a Twins game. He greatly enjoyed his weekly pinochle games.

      He was a member of the Golden K. Kiwanis Club and First Lutheran Church in Worthington.

      Rueben was preceded in death by his wife Ruth, in 2003, his parents and his six siblings and their spouses.

      He is survived by his sons, Kris (Ann) of Fergus Falls, MN and Bruce (Phyllis) of Rochester, MN; three grandchildren, Thea (Jon) Fransen of Fergus Falls, MN, John (Christel) of Bemidji, MN and Elisabeth (Nathan) Murfield of Minneapolis, MN; five great-grandchildren, Natalie, Kristian and Maura Fransen and Annelise and Leo Murfield.

      Rueben was a loving family man, an excellent teacher, a generous friend and neighbor and a person who quietly lived his Christian faith every day of his life.

      Funeral services will be held at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at the First Lutheran Church in Worthington, MN, with Rev. Richard Ricker officiating. Casket bearers will be Jon Fransen, Jim Frederickson, Nathan Murfield, David Svingen, John Svingen and Paul Svingen. Burial will be in the Worthington Memorial Gardens Cemetery.


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

Memorials are preferred to the First Lutheran Youth Group.

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