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Clark Holger Swenson, age 85 of Buffalo, died June 8, 2021 from complications of Lewy Body dementia.

The oldest of three children, Clark was born at home on April 5, 1936 in Jeffers, MN to Holger and Tonie Bernice (Aslagon) Swenson.

Clark graduated in 1954 from Paynesville High School and went on to compete in track, specializing in high jumping, at St. Cloud State University, where he also earned his BS in English and history education in 1958 and Masters Degree in English in 1962.

After teaching for one year in Melrose, MN, he accepted a job at Buffalo High School where he remained for 36 years, coaching track, directing numerous plays and teaching in the English department.

Clark met his wife Karen while teaching at Buffalo High School and together they raised three children. Always a quiet, patient, soulful man, he loved his wife, children, grandchildren unconditionally, and found God and spirituality in church, in literature, in nature and being with friends and family.

In the fall of 1970, Clark, and friends, founded the Wright County Community Theatre with a production of Li’l Abner, followed by other community plays in Delano and Maple Lake.

Clark wasn’t afraid to take risks and choose difficult, often controversial plays for state contests and productions, resulting in numerous accolades from directors and theatres throughout the state.

His accomplishments in theatre were many, but he was always most proud of his casts and crews; he expected much and stretched them to near breaking points with challenging material, but they always gave back 100%.

Clark, a true Renaissance man, loved all the arts, classics, photography, sports and the outdoors. He was happiest taking family photos, making yearly albums, directing plays and photographing, taping and cataloging each, camping in the boundary waters, fishing, entering fishing contests, picking bittersweet, hunting deer, sitting in duck blinds and photographing every fish, goose, deer and duck he saw.

A small corner of land on Lake Linka between Brooten and Glenwood, MN that his grandfather Gunvald Aslagson bought 103 years ago, and where a family cabin now sits, afforded him hours of family and nature’s wonders. Several cabin owners humorously commented that they set their watches by Clark’s daily fishing hours.

Clark was preceded in death by his parents, and sister Margo

He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Karen; daughter, Mara (former son-in-law Jeff) of Buffalo, MN; sons, Grant (Melany) of St. Augusta, MN and Leif (Jenna) of Minnetonka, MN; grandchildren, Jordan, Makenna, Ari, Jonah, Isla, Ryder, Zarik; great granddaughter, Payton; sister, Jan Erickson (Clay Nicles) of Plymouth, MN; brother-in-law, Dane (Claudia) Wobschall of Waseca, MN; nieces, Brittany Wobschall of South St. Paul, MN and Megan Wobschall of Rochester, MN.

His family will bury his ashes later this summer in Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Brooten, MN.

Memorials will be donated to Minnesota youth theatre education programs and Lewy Body Research.

A celebration of Clark’s life will be held on Thursday, June 24, 2021 at 3:00 PM, with visitation one hour prior, at Zion Lutheran Church in Buffalo, MN. A meal and memory sharing will follow at 4:00 PM.

“I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with one another the sense of what it is to be a human being.” Thorton Wilder – playwright

15 Guestbook Entries

  1. Shelley Swenson Held

    Karen, my thoughts and prayers. Not only a relative but my tenth grade English teacher. I understand your numbness at this time. Please a cup of coffee in a month.
    Love to you and family,
    Shelley Swenson Held

  2. Ric Seashore

    Sorry to hear of Clark’s passing, Karen. Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. So many good memories of Clark living with us when he first came to Buffalo. Was blessed to have him as a teacher, coach and mentor.

  3. Glenn Herbert Hansen

    Oh, Karen, I am profoundly sad at Clark’s passing, never having been able to thank him for the profound effect he had on my life. My career choices right down to the Jaguar I drive. I would love to connect with you next time I find myself in Minnesota. You are in my prayers.


    So sorry for your loss.
    Clark was my 10th grade English teacher and Junior High track coach, always had the highest respect for him.
    You are in thoughts and prayers.

  5. Carol Bitzer

    Mr. Swenson was my English teacher also at BHS. My sympathies to his family.

  6. Jeannie Dixon

    Dear Karen & family, Our girls have such good memories of Clark’s direction in the 1 Act plays, and being in Grease and The King & I. Thank both of you for your guidance and exposure to the fine arts and music that are so important to our youth during these informative years and to the success of their careers. You have our deepest sympathy. The Dixon’s

  7. Nancy McAfee

    Clark was such a great teacher as well as a fantastic drama coach. I would like to convey my condolences to Karen and his children. He truly left his mark on so many Buffalo high school graduate. Class of 1968

  8. Nancy McAfee

    Clark was such a great teacher as well as a fantastic drama coach. I would like to convey my condolences to Karen and his children. He truly left his mark on so many Buffalo high school graduates. Class of 1968

  9. Rita Varner-Otness

    Karen, I am so sorry to hear of Clark’s passing. 52 years later I still have great memories of my English class with him. The unit on Mythology was the best! In so many ways Clark was truly one of the best teachers ever in the BHM school district. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  10. Anne Theis

    Karen, I just heard the news about Clark and so very sorry for your loss. Mr. Swenson’s English classes were always my favorite. He stimulated creativity like no other. I also worked on many of his one act plays and loved the wonderful performances he got out of my fellow students. We were always very competitive. All the different forms of dementia are so hard on families, and ours knows that from experience. It takes a tremendous toll. Please take care of yourself.

  11. Mark Minkler

    Dear Karen and family, The Minkler’s are saddened and sorry for your loss. We have fond memories of Clark and all of you as friends and neighbors. Clark is now inn a better place.
    God bless all of you. Louise & Mark

  12. Norita Sanderson

    Dear Swenson Family, My sincere sympathy to all of you. Losing a loved one is very difficult. Some of my favorite memories of Clark are when he and Sandy would reload their shotgun shells (to save money, of course) in our lower level and listen to all the stories about hunting and fishing. May you and your family cherish all of your memories also. RIP Clark.

  13. Susan Johnson Rakow

    Mr Swenson was my favorite teacher in High School. He always made you give him your best. I loved his Mass Media Class. He was always teasing us students to make us smile. There are a few teachers who left an impression on you and he was one of them.

  14. Linda Taylor

    Karen, I just read Jean Ann’s message that your husband passed away. I’m sending my love and prayers to you and your family.

  15. Karen Swart

    Dear Karen and family, I am so sorry for your loss, Clark had such a full and vibrant life, and he obviously loved his family very much. With sympathy, Karen Swart


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