Stephen “Steve” W. Swiderski, age 95, of Onamia, passed away Jan. 11, 2014, at the Onamia Mille Lacs Health Care System.
Steve is survived by his wife of 70 years, Susie of Onamia; daughters, Nancy Keyes of Edina and Carol Ann Thomas of Dana Point, Calif.; grandson, Chad Nelson; many nieces and nephews and great-nieces and nephews. He is also survived by brother, Joe (Elaine) Swiderski of Minneapolis and Brownsville, Texas and sister, Stella Forsberg of Rancho Cordova, Calif.
Preceding him in death were his parents, Walter and Mary Swiderski; sister, Helen Johnson and brothers, John, Bernard and Chester Swiderski.
Steve, a longtime resident of Onamia, was born Dec. 26, 1918, in Calumet City, Ind., moving to Minnesota at the age of one. He met Susie when they were 10 and 8 years old in Johnsdale. An accomplished welder, Steve helped build ships in the Cargill ship yards in Savage during World War II. He subsequently had a milk route for the Onamia Creamery (later becoming the creamery’s president), and ran a dairy farm in Onamia. However his great love was music and he formed the “Star Orchestra” in the mid-’40s patterned after his music idol Frankie Yankovic “America’s Polka King.” He met Frankie in the mid-’60s and they became lifelong friends. Steve and Susie, along with other musicians, were known in a wide area in Minnesota, becoming close friends with those they entertained for decades at Saturday night dances, where polkas, waltzes and schottisches were the favorites.
There will be a “celebration” of his life, June 7, 2014, from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. at the Vet’s Club, Onamia.