Marvin Ray Swanson

November 27, 1926September 6, 2020

Marvin Ray Swanson has signed off on his last set of blue prints!

His double footed driving had finally wore out his breaks and he is on “final approach” for his flight to his Heavenly home. He was 93. Marv passed away painlessly and with loving peace at his lakeside home Sunday evening, September 6, 2020 after a sudden burst of his aorta. Ol George K. sloshed a CC old fashion across his lips and he said, “mmmm, that’s good”.

Marvin was born November 27, 1926 in Ludington, MI. He was raised on a farm with his loving mother Ethel Swanson and his hard working “tender and a bit bashful” father August, a farmer and carpenter. Marv’s younger brother Don was his constant companion and snowball hitman while carrying pails of milk to the house. They await his homecoming. The depression had hit and they were thankful for their farm, even though Marv lost his first business deal to a crook and a batch of cucumbers. His mother worked for the draft board and had to sign her own son into the end of WWII at the age of 18. The boiler broke on his ship which delayed his landing into Japan. The war ended and he served out his duties in Korea running a coal mine. He was granted a full education to Michigan State University where he studied and graduated with a Construction and Lumber Management Degree. His buddy Fred S. encouraged him to come to Jackson where he took a job with the O’Harrow brothers building gas stations. In time, he took it over and out of respect kept the name the same. It was just how Marv rolled, loyal, respectful and unassuming. Nearly 70 years later, the O’Harrow/Swan Steel family has built everything from universities, theaters, hospitals, professional offices, banks and steel plants. We are stronger than ever and “at your service”. The building continued at home in his shop. He built everything from trailers for wheel chaired friends, contraptions that drove mom nuts, and endless days with grandkids learning to lathe, saw, weld and build anything and everything.

Marv is survived by his strong, compassionate and pretty wife Virgelene (Virg), cuz she was “the best he could do with the car he had”. He loved her endlessly and some of his last words were, “I have loved her for 1000 years.”

Marv and Virg have three children. Jeffrey Allen, Andrew Ray (passed in 83’) and Ann Elaine Swanson. They have 4 grandchildren, Jeff Thomas (Jessica) - great grands Kaylee and James, Brandon Ray, Sean Andrew Patrick and Ryan Alan Patrick. Step grandchildren Jessica Halleck (Michael) - son Ethan, and Kyle Potts (Erin) - daughter Madison. And we can’t forget ol “Bud” the grateful stray pooch…. Cuz he’s a “people dog” “a good ol’ houndy” and a professional beggar come dinner time.

He hit a golf ball on the range 2 weeks ago and while having lunch at Knights, he told me, “Ive had a lotta fun and a lotta good things happen to me and I’ve had a lotta bad things happen, but I always tried to find a way to laugh at it until it became good again. So when things go wrong; laugh, cuz it doesn’t matter anyway.” He told us to be proactive when you can, and there’s always a solution, there’s always a way.” He’s home now... with his son Andy and his family and we are grateful and honored for his life. We are proud of you Marv/chief/ father/daddy! We will miss your presence here but we shall “blunder ahead”.

A private family Committal service will be held at Roseland Memorial Gardens with Military honors. We will celebrate Marv’s life with Industrial joy come next spring... stay tuned!

If so inclined, bless the Hospice House of Jackson, they truly are “earth angels”.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Marvin Ray Swanson

have a memory or condolence to add?

Scott Korten

September 18, 2020

Mr. Swanson gave me my first real job at Swansteel the summer of 1974 when I was home from college. I was forever thankful to him.
Marv and Virg were longtime friends of my parents Marty and Roger Korten . We had many good times together at their lake and at Clarklake.
The Marvin I knew was always happy with a "can do" attitude.
You will be missed.

Janice Shedd

September 14, 2020

Dear Virg and Family: Although it has been only a few years since we got to know you both as we often shared tables next to each other at Anna's, we came to call Marv a friend. It was always fun to have John and Marv chat about businesses, Marv in building schools and business and John counting pills in the pharmacy and Virg and I about "OUR" men. It did not matter what was talked about, it was always sincere and fun. I will miss seeing the two of you together. He will be sadly missed for sure. But what a life Marv had. God speed Marv and blessings to your family. Most Sincerely, John and Jan Shedd

Marie Raber

September 13, 2020

I remember how much Jack admired and respected Marv as a boss and a friend. When I met Marv I thought how right Jack was. I'm sure they will get together again to talk about old times. Prayers for all the family.

Kathy Patrick

September 9, 2020

Marv was truly a man of integrity, grit, love and lots of laughter. Pat and I would end up at the Airport Restaurant just about every day and there would be Marv at the pilots' table reminiscing about the good ole days or what was going on in the aviation world. On Sunday's while Virg was in church we would see Marv at his "Airport Restaurant" service. Always great times to witness.
Brianne and I want to express our deepest condolences to Virg, Annie and family. The love you share will be what helps get you through the sad times and your faith will be what helps give you peace. With love always, Kathy Patrick

Kathy Burd

September 9, 2020

I am sadden to hear but cherish the memories I had growing up with this amazing man and family. His stories and laughter will definitely be missed and so glad I got to spend time with him not too long ago. My love to Mrs. Swanson, Jeffrey and Annie.

Dick Firestone

September 9, 2020

Marvin was a very special friend.

Philip and Suzanne Newhouse

September 8, 2020

Marv was my neighbor for many years very kind and generous man. I will miss seeing him out in his yard and relaxing on the Lake. May God bless your family at this time.

Carole Cross

September 8, 2020

He was my brother-in-law but really like a brother. He was a lovely man, a wonderful addition to the family and so special. He will be missed so much. What a wonderful full life he had. Love you Marv. Will miss you forever.


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