Marion “Swede” Hjelmeng

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Marion “Swede” Dale Hjelmeng, 90, of Elkader, passed away Friday, June 30, 2017, at the Elkader Care Center. Swede was born June 10, 1927, in West Union, to Sverre and Elva (Oleson) Hjelmeng. He attended school in West Union and Elkader and, after a year in the United States Navy, he went to Elkader Junior College for one year. On November 6, 1948, he was married to Lois Larson at Norway Lutheran Church.

Swede was employed by Northwestern Bell Telephone Company for 37 years. He then worked for AT&T for one year, retiring in 1984. Following his retirement, he was self-employed with his own telephone service company until April 1, 2003.

He was active in all sports throughout his school years, and later coached Little League and Junior Legion baseball in Elkader. He was a fan of the Iowa Hawkeyes and Green Bay Packers, attending many games.

He enjoyed attending auctions, refinishing furniture, golf, fishing, card playing and bus trips. A special trip was made to Norway in 1991, to visit his relatives and tour some of the country.

Swede served as president of the Elkader swimming pool board for several years, and is a past-president of the Elkader Lions. He also was a board member of Bethany Lutheran Church and the Elkader Country Club.

He is survived by his children, Denny (Maren) Hjelmeng of Omaha, NE; Lynn (Gary) Larson of West Union; and Kay Meylor of Cherokee; 10 grandchildren, Craig (Johnna) Hjelmeng, Kari (Bryan) Bennett, Kristin (Ryan) Weston, Blake (Heather) Gamm, Scott Gamm, Erich (Christal) Gamm, Jessica (Matt) Schmidt, Marnie (Tristan) deMooij, Jonathan (Laura) Meylor, and Mallory (Pat) Mohning; 14 great-grandchildren; three step-great-grandchildren and one step-great-great-grandson. 

Swede was preceded in death by his parents; his wife Lois in 2003; his brother, Elden, who was killed on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Intrepid in 1944; and his son-in-law, James Meylor in 1988.

Visitation was held from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, July 2, 2017, at Leonard-Grau Funeral Home in Elkader. There was a graveside service with military honors at 10:30 a.m. Monday, July 3, 2017 at Norway Lutheran Cemetery, rural St. Olaf.

Leonard-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service assisted the family. Online condolences may be left with

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