View Obituaries

Remembering Lives, Celebrating Legacies

Remembering those who have left us. This obituaries page is a simple tribute to individuals who touched our lives. May their legacies endure in our memories.

LaVonne Swanson

01/05/1934 - 06/11/2024


Obituary For LaVonne Swanson

LaVonne Day was born January 5, 1934 to Mary (Vares) and Willard Day in Lead, SD. LaVonne was a graduating member of the Lead High School class of 1952.

LaVonne was born to a family of Yugoslavian immigrants. She spent much of her youth translating conversations, and writing and translating letters for her grandmother, members of the Yugoslavian community in Lead and Deadwood, and family members still living in Yugoslavia.

On June 24, 1952 LaVonne married Glenn D. Swanson, also of Lead. To this union five boys were born (four were born within six years!). She was very proud to have mothered William (Bill), Bradford (Brad), Kingsley, Jay and Erik.

After living in Lead/Deadwood, Alliance NE, Edgemont and Sturgis, in 1974 LaVonne and Glenn were able to purchase a small acreage just southwest of Rapid City, and with the help of the five boys, they spent the next several years building the beautiful home and property that she resided in until her death on June 11, 2024.

In 1970, with five young boys at home, LaVonne set her sights on a college education. In a few short years she earned a BS in Education from Black Hills State College in Spearfish, SD, and immediately went on to obtain a master's degree from the University of Northern Colorado Greeley. She was a college professor teaching English, Literature, Speech, and Composition at National College, Black Hills State College through Ellsworth AFB Extension (educating our Armed Services Members), and ultimately at the newly blossoming Western Dakota VoTech. She enjoyed a 38 year career in higher education and was very proud of her educational and professional successes.

Her passions in life included her husband and sons, her animals (there were many!), drama through Rapid City Community Theater (performing, directing, and attending), a good ballroom dance, and don’t forget her Marlboro Light 100s!

LaVonne is preceded in death by her husband Glenn D. Swanson (July 28, 1998), their son Bradford Paul Swanson (November 6, 2012), and her parents. Left to mourn her loss are her remaining four sons, the families of all her sons, and her friends.

In her honor, and to celebrate her love of animals, please consider making a gift to the Humane Society of the Black Hills or an animal rescue/shelter of your choice.

Live Stream



18 Jun


05:00 PM - 07:00 PM

Behrens-Wilson Funeral Home 632 Saint Francis St. Rapid City, SD 57701 Get Directions »
19 Jun

Mass of Christian Burial

10:00 AM

Our Lady Of Perpetual Help Cathedral 520 Cathedral Dr Rapid City, SD 57701 Get Directions »
by Obituary Assistant

Live Stream

Photos & Video

Add New Photos & Video


  • 06/18/2024

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to LaVonne's family. I taught with LaVonne and shared an office area with her. There were about four of us that played practical jokes on one another. In fact, I still have a VHS of the four of us lip syncing to Stop in the Name of Love. Lavonne would give me grammar lessons by saying "I love you Deb, but don't ever use myself in a sentence without the word I." The passing of Glenn took a toll on her. I don't think she was ever the same. I also worked at WDT with LaVonne, but didn't have the daily interactions I did at NC. We truly had some fun times! Bob & Deb Reynolds

  • 06/17/2024

    To the family of Lavonne. We cleaned for Lavonne for many, many years. My prayers and big hug for all of you. She was one of a kind. Rest in peace. Robin Whipple, Impressions Cleaning Service

  • 06/16/2024

    Like many others, I was saddened to learn of the passing of my friend and former colleague, LaVonne Swanson. She was a precious and poised associate that I greatly admired. Some years ago, having tired of her position at National College, a mutual acquaintance introduced us and I knew that she would be a wonderful compliment to our teaching staff at Western Dakota Tech. For several years, LaVonne offered quality classroom instruction to many students that might have otherwise struggled with the English landauite, whether is be spelling, grammar or writing. She was a wonderful compliment to our professional staff and I, as well as many others that she touched, will cherish the memories of time shared. Peace be with you, LaVonne, and blessed be the thespian within us 😊 Dr. Jeffrey Bailie Rapid City

Add a Candle

Click a candle below to add a candle to your message.


Grief Resources

Grief resources offer vital support and guidance for individuals coping with loss, providing tools and community for healing.

Contact Us

Please contact us with any questions you have regarding advanced planning, services, grief resources, and any additional information needed during this time period.


Writing an Obituary

Writing an obituary is a poignant and reflective process, encapsulating the essence of a person’s life, achievements, and impact in a heartfelt tribute.