Samuel “Sam” Swanson III, 1935-2021


Samuel August “Sam” Swanson III, 85, of La Porte, Ind., went to be with the Lord Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, at Northwest Health – La Porte.

He was born Oct. 5, 1935, in Michigan City, Ind., the son of Lot and Laura (Clausson) Swanson.

Sam served in the United States Marine Corps for six years, four of those aboard the USS Lexington. After his honorable discharge, he remained in California and worked in the aircraft industry, first on the experimental aircraft XB70 and then on the retro section of the Apollo rocket that went to the moon. In 1973 he returned to Michigan City and went to work as a carpenter for National Steel, retiring in 1998 after 25 years.

A man of many talents, Sam repaired wheelchairs and sold or donated them. He spent one summer making small wooden crosses to hand out to people – he just enjoyed helping folks. Sam had an amazing sense of humor, always making people laugh. He was a talented artist who loved sketching and playing the harmonica. Sam and Joyce enjoyed spending time together, sometimes working in the flower garden.

“Sam got COVID and then got the pneumonia specific to COVID. He fought a good fight, but I guess his body just got tired. You are now with your loved ones and fellow Marines who went before you. SEMPER FI, Sam. We will see you again.”

Sam met his beloved wife Joyce of 45 years “in the woods” on a camping trip with a friend. On Nov. 22, 1975, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, South Bend, Ind., he married Joyce Bulhand Swanson, who survives. 

He is also survived by his son, Jeffrey Mack of McKinney, Tex.; daughter, Ellen Mack of Wauwatosa, Wis.; two grandchildren, Oliver and Xavier Crum; sister-in-law, Carolyn Hickman of South Bend; and nieces and nephews in various parts of the country.

Samuel was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, Vernon, Merle, Larry, Richard and Robert Swanson; and his sisters, Dorothy Johnson and Helen Swanson.

The family will receive friends from 11 am. to noon Tuesday, Jan. 26. A funeral service will be held at noon at the funeral home with Pastor Bob Vale, First United Methodist Church, officiating. Interment will follow at St. Joseph Valley Memorial Cemetery, Granger, Ind. If attending these events, you are required to wear a mask and practice social distancing.

Messages of condolence may be posted below on WNLP as well as at

4 Responses to “Samuel “Sam” Swanson III, 1935-2021”

  1. Virginia Behenna

    Jan 24. 2021

    Dear Joyce,

    Deepest Sympathy to you and your family,
    Sam was such a nice guy!! I loved his laugh and his funny sence of humor!
    Thank you for the opportunity to care for him !

    Reply to this comment
  2. Diane Humphrey

    Jan 25. 2021

    Sam will be so missed by all of us at Miller’s. With deepest sympathy I send my sincere condolences to his family. He was a very great guy and a hoot to joke with.. RIP Sam. May you rest in peace in God’s loving care.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Mark and Tamara Frame

    Jan 25. 2021

    Joyce, Mark and I are so sorry for your loss. Sam was a wonderful man. Sam is now with our Lord and Savior and no longer in pain. You have a great support group and I hope you know Mark and I are a part of that support group. You are more than a neighbor we are so blessed to call you our friend. We love you. Mark and Tammy

    Reply to this comment
  4. Jerry

    Feb 06. 2021

    Im so sorry Joyce…he was a good guy and a good friend

    Reply to this comment

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