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1940 Thomas N. Swanson 2023

Thomas N. Swanson

November 6, 1940 — May 10, 2023

Mesa, Arizona

Thomas N Swanson, November 6. 1940 – May 10, 2023

Tom Swanson, 82, of Mesa, Arizona, formerly of Nora Springs and Mason City, Iowa, passed away on Wednesday, May 10, at Banner Baywood Hospital in Mesa, after battling several health issues the past few years.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 AM Wednesday, May 24, 2023 at the First Christian Church.  Interment will follow in the Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery.  Visitation will be held Tuesday, May 23, 2023 from 5 until 7 PM at the Major Erickson Funeral Home, 111 North Pennsylvania Ave. The funeral will be livestreamed on the Major Erickson Funeral Home Facebook page.

Tom was born November 6, 1940, to J. Arthur and Blanche (Graham) Swanson in Mason City, Iowa. He was the youngest of three boys. His older brothers were Larry and Bill. Tom began working at the Mason City Public Library when he was 10 years old. He graduated from Mason City High School in 1958. He was a graduate of Mason City Junior College and Hamilton College. At the age of 22, Tom joined the Army National Guard, where he served as a clerk. Tom returned to work for the Mason City Public Library where he drove the bookmobile, a subject of many favorite stories. Then he went to work for the North Iowa Library Extension (NILE), later called the North Central Regional Library System. There he processed new books for libraries across the state of Iowa and delivered rotating collections of books to 81 libraries in North Central Iowa. It was during this time, Tom met and worked with the love of his life, Ann. Tom married Patricia “Ann” Strain McKinley on December 20, 1968. They had three daughters, Sandy, Tara, and Karla.

In 1978, after the death of his dad, Tom began working at Major Erickson Funeral Home, where he worked for 25 years.  He took great pride and compassion serving families in his various roles at the funeral home. Tom’s positive attitude and smile were comforting to many. He was known as the “encyclopedia of Mason City”, knowing where everyone lived, what color their house was, and who used to live there. His knowledge of Mason City made him an asset in this line of work. Upon retirement in 2003, Tom and Ann moved to Nora Springs, Iowa, and began wintering in Arizona. In 2015, they moved to Arizona full time. Tom loved spending time in the sun and having coffee with the guys. He enjoyed the warm weather and sunshine.

Tom loved spending time with his girls and his grandchildren. He was very proud of them. Tom loved to have them come visit and took great pleasure in introducing them to all his friends.

During his life in Iowa, Tom was an active member of the First Christian Church, the United Methodist Church and later Praise Community Church. He served on several boards. He was one of the founding members of the Mason City Foundation – Music Man Square, he served on the Hospice of North Iowa Board, the Elmwood Cemetery Board and was a member of Mason City Noon Kiwanis. Prior to the pandemic, Tom attended Broadway Christian Church in Mesa, Arizona, and volunteered in the church’s food pantry.

Tom’s favorite hobby in his retirement was knitting stocking caps on his loom. His hats cover the heads of children from Japan to Colorado to Arizona and every kindergarten class in Nora Springs, since 2012. He got Ann involved in knitting when he decided to make hats for Rhett’s kindergarten class in Bondurant. He was proud that his grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s classmates would have a hat made by him. We have lost count as to how many hats he has made and shared across the world, but the number is well into the thousands. He loved sharing hats with everyone, and he loved seeing the pictures of people of all ages wearing them.

Tom is survived by his wife of 54 years, Ann; daughters Sandy (Bruce) Davison, of Nora Springs, IA; Tara Gratz, of Lafayette, Colorado; Karla (Adam) Wymore, of Nora Springs, IA; 8 grandsons, Jordan (Alanna) Davison, of Plymouth, IA; Dylan (Shanna) Davison, of Bondurant, IA; Cole (Sam) Davison, of Mason City, IA; Kasey Gratz, of Corvallis, OR; Rylan Gratz, of Lafayette, CO; Cooper Wymore and Tate Wymore of Nora Springs, IA; 9 great-grandchildren, Raegan, Cade, Jentry, Rhett, Rudy, Rhen, Lane, Joelle, and Stetson; sister-in-law, Sharon Swanson; three nieces and their families; and a special foreign exchange student, Christin "Chrissy" Lindberg Skansen of Norway.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, Larry and Bill Swanson; one sister-in-law, Norma Swanson; and grandson, Gavin Gratz.

In his life, Tom contributed to many organizations such as charities supporting families coping with SIDS, various church missions, veteran’s needs, etc. In lieu of flowers, please give to the charity of your choice in memory of him.


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Service Schedule

Past Services


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Major Erickson Funeral Home & Crematory

111 N Pennsylvania Ave, Mason City, IA 50401

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Funeral Service

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

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Wednesday, May 24, 2023

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