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Memories of Ohio’s Dick Swanson

Swanson Trucking Co. photo circa 1956 includes (from left), Grover Smith, “Red Oak”, Art Gugerty, Dick Swanson, Dean Walters and Albert Mead.
Swanson Trucking Co. photo circa 1956 includes (from left), Grover Smith, “Red Oak”, Art Gugerty, Dick Swanson, Dean Walters and Albert Mead.

Editor’s note: The following story was submitted by Joan Anderson of Ohio, Ill., and focuses on the late Dick Swanson. Anderson shares her memories and the legacy of this area icon.

While visiting in Arizona this winter, I read of two special persons of the Princeton area — Richard “Dick” Nelson and Dick Dorsch — which brought to mind a special person from Ohio, Ill., coincidentally also named Dick, Richard “Dick” Swanson.

Dick is now deceased, but memories of his kindness still live in the minds of many local persons.

As an old lady of 81, these are my memories, however, some of my brain memories have “left town.”

Dick graduated from Ohio High School, spent time in the military, was a member of good standing at the Ohio Methodist Church and resided on the edge of Ohio with his lovely wife, Helen “Paden” Swanson, along with their daughter, Barbara, until she married Buddy DeBruhl.

Dick started a trucking business, picking up livestock from area farmers and transporting them to the Chicago Stock Yards to be sold.

In the winter, with a measurable amount of snow — Dick, with his snow rig, along with Buck Donnelly and David McDonald, would clear the driveways of all in town that needed to be “out and about” early. He was a Boy Scout leader who helped the boys purchase many canoes. Many weekends were spent with the boys paddling the different waterways and camping, while conveying good leadership to them.

He purchased — moved in — and facilitated the Ohio Dairy Sweet.

He started the business called Swanson Appaloosas. He, Helen and their two granddaughters, Dawn and Stacy DeBruhl, took part in many horse shows. They brought home many trophies and ribbons and spread the name of Ohio in many areas.

He purchased the Ohio Grain Co. and expanded it to the benefit of many local farmers.

He was an Ohio Board member for several years, and he and Helen were always involved in local activities. If there was a need for the local children of T-Shirts, uniforms, ball equipment or whatever, they would donate them.

Ohio Schools through the years has been high on the list of their athletic abilities. Having trophies was becoming a problem. Dick came to my husband, Tom Anderson, saying — you purchase the best lumber, etc. — build some beautiful trophy cases and bring me the bill.

Swanson Trucking business is still being operated by their grandson, Brooks DeBruhl and his wife, Carol.

When the school children would attend away games he and Helen would manage to know where the bus would be stopping and pay for the treats of all on the bus.

Every Market Day at the school would find the two of them doing whatever needed to be done.

Dick was the “cog in the wheel” that donated much time and financial backing to start the Ohio Growth Foundation which expanded the residential boundaries of the village and the building of several new homes.

I know there are many more good things to be said of Dick, but these are my memories of an Ohio special person, Richard “Dick” Swanson.

Joan Anderson

Ohio, Ill.

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