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of Buffalo, MN

February 6, 1939 – October 10, 2023

Selma Louise Rice Swanson, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend to all, passed away after her courageous battle with cancer on October 10, 2023. At 84 years old, Selma left a legacy of strength, love, and grace for all to follow. In the days leading up to her death, Selma was surrounded by her family at her daughter’s home in Buffalo, MN where she passed unto heaven.

The first child to Clyde Harold and Ferne (nee Beseler) Rice, Selma was born at Swedish Hospital in Minneapolis, MN on February 6th, 1939.

Selma’s early years of her life were spent at Lake Netta and Silver Lake.

She was a mother’s helper at heart, always trying to keep up with chores and caring for her younger brother, Harold Preston.

She often reminisced of their adventures together including swimming and spending time with cousins. Selma and Preston were virtually inseparable and continued to be close throughout their lives.

Eventually, her family built a home in Crystal, MN where Selma attended Robbinsdale High School. She was an active student. Selma fondly recalled how she learned to play the accordion, participated in marching band as a baton twirler, enjoyed drawing, and had many heartfelt friends. In the midst of her extracurriculars, Selma worked hard towards her educational pursuits as well as taking on jobs after school to help supplement her family’s income. Selma proudly graduated in 1953.

After high school, Selma’s profound work ethic eventually led her to Honeywell Enterprises. Working her way up through the system, she became a parts inspector and supervisor. After 30 years of dedication, Selma retired from Honeywell to pursue more time with her family.

In her free time Selma enjoyed cooking, sewing, crocheting, gardening, traveling, reading, and spending time with her pets. She loved to spend time with friends and family – always laughing and full of fun.

In the late 1950s, Selma met the love of her life, LeRoy Swanson, who gave her the nickname Sally. After a long courtship, LeRoy and Sally eloped to Las Vegas, Nevada on July 2nd, 1963. They were married for 60 years.

During their years together they enjoyed movies and music, dancing, picnicking, fishing, and traveling. In 1966 they began a family together with the birth of their son John and their daughter Lori was born nine years later. Selma lavishly loved her children as a mother and as a friend. As her family grew so did her love and grace. Grandchildren, step grandchildren, and great grandchildren – who fondly called her GiGi – were the highlight of her days, always finding time to connect and support each one.

As a longtime resident of Buffalo, MN, Sally was also active in her community. She attended Zion Lutheran Church where she was a Sunday School Teacher and Superintendent for many years. Sally’s open heart, always found the best way to connect even with the most challenging students. In later years, Selma also attended Buffalo Assembly of God where she was known as “Grandma Sally” to all while she provided nursery care. Sally was also actively involved in the Wright County 4H, teaching young people to become community leaders.

In her retirement years, Sally provided full time care for her mother who struggled with Alzheimer’s. After her mother passed, She continued to work in various part time opportunities including care giving and sales. Selma was a gifted sales woman who enjoyed independent sales in Sarah Coventry, Avon, and Brand Representation. Sally also enjoyed being a “grandma” at Galaxy Kid’s, a school age childcare center in the Rockford School District, as a teaching assistant.

In 2009, like her mother, Sally began to show signs of dementia. Despite this frightening and frustrating journey, she never lost her positive attitude, her sense of adventure, or her ability to connect with others. Sally continuously believed in the power of a smile, the value of a hug, and the importance of loving yourself. And she’d always find the right way to speak right into your heart. Despite her lapsing memory, she always remained her truest self. Throughout her life, Sally invested in the lives of others with the unending love of Jesus, accepting people as themselves. No one was ever a stranger to Sally – who was always willing to listen, provide comfort and wisdom. She truly was a friend to all.

Selma Louise “Sally” Swanson was preceded in death by her parents, brother, Gregory Swanson and many family and friends, She is survived by her husband, LeRoy R. Swanson; her son: John (Stephanie) Swanson and daughter, Lori (Justin Petersen) Swanson; her grandchildren: Zachery (Kelly Lowell) Swanson, Jessica (Ron) Wright, Brenden (Cassidy) Swanson, Charles (Cortney) Swanson; step grandchild: Isabella Petersen; 12 great grandchildren: step great grandchildren: Connie (Lynn) Leffew, Olya Zolotoryova and her children, family and friends.

A visitation will be on Wednesday, October 18 from 4-7PM with a prayer service at 6 PM at Peterson Chapel in Buffalo, MN.

Funeral Services for Selma “Sally” Swanson will be held on Thursday, October 19, there will be a reviewal from 10-11 and 11 AM funeral service followed by a luncheon at Zion Lutheran Church.

The interment will take place at Swedesburg Lutheran Cemetery, in Marysville Township after the funeral lunch. Please join us to celebrate a life well live

Please follow the link below to livestream the services for Selma Swanson


1 Guestbook Entry

  1. Laura J Ondich

    Lori and family – Even though I never had the honor of meeting Sally, through the many uplifting posts, stories, and “things your mother said” I feel as if I new her just a little bit. My heart is with you all as you laugh, cry, share memories, and celebrate this amazing woman.


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