David Charles Swinarski, 72, of Red Wing, died Sunday, July 4, 2021, at Mayo Clinic Health System, Methodist Hospital in Rochester, due to complications from esophageal cancer. He was surrounded by his loving family.
Dave was born on May 3, 1949, in Greeley, NE to Joseph and Mary Lu (Noe) Swinarski. He was the youngest of four children. Growing up in the tiny town of Greeley had a huge impact on his life—he played countless hours of baseball, football, and other sports, served as an altar boy at church, worked with his dad at the Swinarski Pharmacy, and enjoyed the fun (and often mischievous!) adventures that small town life offers. He built strong and lasting friendships that he maintained for the rest of his life. Dave graduated in 1967 from Sacred Heart High School in Greeley and then attended Creighton University in Omaha, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy in 1973.
It was at Creighton where he met Dolores (Dee) Zakrzewski, the love of his life. It didn’t take long for her to recognize Dave’s steadfast, loving heart and his gentle, kind, funny, dependable personality, and they married on July 3, 1971 in O’Neill, NE. They finished school in Omaha and moved to Peoria, IL for several years before finally settling in Red Wing in 1979. Dave worked for 35 years as a pharmacist at the hospital in Red Wing, retiring as Director of Pharmacy in 2014. His strong work ethic and love of his job made it a joy to go to work each day, and he especially enjoyed working with such talented and caring coworkers.
Dave loved being a part of and contributing to the Red Wing community. He performed on stage in various community theater productions and enjoyed volunteering with the Dawnbreakers Kiwanis Club. A long-time member of St. Joseph Church, and a life-long lover of music, he spent countless hours sharing his beautiful voice by singing with the church choir. His children joined him in the music ministry and have many years’ worth of wonderful musical memories of singing together at church and, later, at family weddings and funerals. His love of music also led him to join the Red Wing Singers. He felt honored to be a part of such a fine group of musicians and loved every minute of fellowship and singing together.
More recently, Dave devoted time and energy to the C.A.R.E. Clinic in Red Wing, a nonprofit clinic providing healthcare to underserved low-income residents of Goodhue County and Lake City. He believed strongly in the mission to make health care accessible to all who need it, and it gave him great joy to participate in the creation and ongoing operations of the C.A.R.E. Clinic.
Dave and Dee loved to travel together and, when they weren’t traveling to visit their children, they enjoyed taking cross country road trips (with Dave riding shotgun) to explore parts of the country they hadn’t seen yet. They particularly loved hiking together both locally and on their National and State Park visits and were awed by the wildlife and natural wonders they got to see.
More than anything else, Dave loved his family. He thought his children and grandchildren were wondrous and he adored and cherished his beloved wife. He loved telling them stories of his childhood and life and was a master at telling “Dad” jokes, which always elicited at least one good laugh (or eyeroll!) from someone in the room. He always made time for them, whether it was to play catch in the front yard, help with a school project, chaperone a field trip, or be a listening ear and sage advice giver as needed.
Dave is survived by his wife of 50 years, Dee; three children: Kelli (Brian) Hart of Seattle, David (Bill Bulman) Swinarski of New York, and Michael (Shaina Mello) Swinarski of Owatonna; seven grandchildren: Allie, Juliette, Levi, Lucy, Andrew, Ben, and Marceline; one brother, Jim (Kathleen Andersen) Swinarski of Greeley; one sister, Katy (Dan) Cole of St. Paul; and many brothers and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Joseph Swinarski, Jr. (Jody); father-in-law, Paul Zakrzewski; sister-in-law, Lorraine Swinarski; and brothers-in-law Fritz Zakrzewski and Dave Zakrzewski.
A Funeral Mass will be held at 11:00 AM on August 21st at the Church of St. Joseph with Father Brandon Theisen presiding. A Celebration of Life luncheon will follow directly after the Mass at Mississippi National Golf Links. All are welcome to attend and share memories and stories of Dave. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the C.A.R.E. Clinic (www.careclinicrw.com or 906 College Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066).
Funeral arrangements have been made by the Mahn Family Funeral Home, Bodelson-Mahn Chapel. Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.mahnfamilyfuneralhome.com.