Joseph Peter Swartzer, Sr., age 87, of Watertown, passed away Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, at home, with family at his side.
He was born June 29, 1931, in Woodland Township, Wright County, to George and Susan (Gallus) Swartzer, the fifth of 17 children.
Joe was a 1949 graduate of Delano High School.
He served in the US Navy from 1951-1953, during the Korean War.
Joseph was united in marriage to Dorothy Ellsworth June 26, 1965, in St. Paul.
He worked at Minnesota Rubber Company in St. Louis Park for 38 years, before retiring in 1993.
Joe was a loving husband. He was a supportive dad, attending his children’s various school activities, including coaching his daughters for summer softball (he was among the founders of the Watertown girls’ summer softball league); served as a charter member of the Watertown-Mayer FFA Alumni Association, worked in the concession stand for Joe, Jr. at Hollywood Sports Complex.
Joe was an especially involved grandpa; working the “family daycare” for the grandchildren after retirement from 1998 to 2014, and always attending the grandchildren’s various school and church activities.
Faith was important to Joe, and he was a life-long and active member of St. Mary of Czestochowa Catholic Church in rural Delano. He was also an active member of the Knights of Columbus, and the Fourth Degree, where he held several officer positions and was inducted in the Fourth Degree’s Hall of Fame.
Joe was also a proud member of the Watertown American Legion Eugene Earley Post 121.
A farmer who loved all things John Deere, Joe enjoyed the outdoors, hunting and watching the birds; he collected bird houses and always kept the bird feeders full.
Joe was preceded in death by a daughter, Kimberly; granddaughter Grace; his parents; siblings Gladys, Donald, George Jr., Jack, Marvin and Walt Swartzer, and Lorraine Lynch; brothers-in-law Tom Kuka, Leo Blackketter, Emmett Lynch, Louie Bury, Edward Ellsworth, Sr., and Michael Ellsworth; and sisters-in-law Sandy, Mary Helen, Marguerite, and Laurie Swartzer.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Dorothy; nine children: Mary Kay, Joseph, Jr. (Katie), Theresa (Tracy) Anderson, Dawn, Brian (Karen), Kevin (Sheri Stender), Susan (Tony) Ertl, Steven, and Cindy (Alex) Brown; and 18 grandchildren: Allison Anderson, Alicia Swartzer, Nolan Anderson, Emily Swartzer, Patrick Anderson, Joey Swartzer III, Julia Swartzer, Kortney Swartzer, Nicholas Swartzer, Ben Swartzer, Samantha Swartzer, Anthony Ertl, Michael Swartzer, Edward Ertl, Abigail Brown, Jack Swartzer, Madeline Brown and Adam Swartzer.
Joe is further survived by siblings Betty Bury, Luverne Blackketter, Marion Kuka, Susan (Ed) Windsperger, Bob (Mary Lynn), Ervin (Renee), Gene, Tony, and Peter (Alice) Swartzer; sisters-in-law Irene, Rosemary, and Cathy Swartzer, and Sheri Ellsworth; and many nieces and nephews.
Mass of Christian Burial took place Thursday, Sept. 20 at 11 a.m. at St. Mary of Czestochowa Catholic Church in rural Delano, followed by interment with military honors in the church cemetery.
There was visitation Wednesday, Sept. 19 at the church, from 4 to 8 p.m., with a 3:30 p.m. Knights of Columbus Rosary; continuing Thursday from 10 to 11 a.m., prior to the Mass.
Arrangements were with the Iten’s Watertown Funeral Home.