James Arthur Swanson, 66, of rural Alma, Nebraska, formerly of Wilcox, Nebraska

A Celebration of Life Service for James A. "Jim" Swanson will be conducted from the Nelson-Bauer Funeral Home in Holdrege, Nebraska on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. with Pastor Mel Mertens officiating. Military Honors will be held at the funeral home by the Wilcox American Legion and the Hildreth VFW in conjunction with the United States Army National Guard Military Honors Team. A private family inurnment will be held at a later date.

James Arthur Swanson, 66 years of age, of rural Alma, Nebraska (formerly of Wilcox, Nebraska) passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at the Phelps Memorial Health Center in Holdrege, Nebraska.

Jim was born July 25, 1946 at Holdrege, the second of three children born to Art and Helen (Davis) Swanson. He was baptized on March 30, 1958, confirmed in the Presbyterian Church and later joined the Lutheran faith. Jim received his education from Holdrege Public Schools, graduating from Holdrege High School with the class of 1964.

He then served his country by joining the Nebraska National Guards in Smith Center, Kansas and later transferred to the Army Reserves in Hastings, Nebraska, where he served six years.

On July 29, 1965 he was united in marriage to Beverly Fitzke of Minden, Nebraska. To this union two children were born: James Arthur Swanson II and Cheri Marie. The family made their home in Minden until settling to Kearney, Nebraska in 1969. They relocated to Grand Island, Nebraska in 1982, where they resided for twenty years. Throughout Jim's career, he was in the restaurant business for many years, which included Dowd's Steak House in Alda, Nebraska. In 2004, the couple took over the café in Wilcox, called Brother Jim's Café, which he owned and operated until his health began to fail and relinquished the day-to-day operations to his daughter, Cheri.

Jim was a member of the Wilcox-Hildreth American Legion, served on the Wilcox Village Board, was a past member of the Wilcox Lions Club, served as Chairman of the Veteran's Service Committee in Kearney County, and past member of the Platt Duetsche in Grand Island. He was one of the founders of the Accordion Jamboree in Grand Island and remained active for many years. Jim was a "people person" that loved to socialize with many friends where ever he went. Most of all he loved the time spent with his family. He had a special place in his heart for animals, especially his cats. Jim's hearty laugh and infectious smile will be missed by all.

He was preceded in death by his father, Art Swanson and father-in-law and mother-in-law: Elmer and Marie Fitzke.

He leaves behind his loving family; his wife, Bev Swanson of rural Alma; his mother, Helen Swanson of Holdrege; son, Jimmy Swanson of Grand Island; daughter, Cheri Swanson and her boyfriend, Tony Melvin of Hastings; three grandchildren: Dusty, Catie and Linzy Swanson; one brother, Dee Swanson and his wife, Marilyn of Holdrege; one sister, Patty DeCamp of Akron, Ohio; sister-in-law, Donna Fitzke of Kearney; brother-in-law, Ron Fitzke and his wife, Haruko of Colorado Springs, Colorado; and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.

There will be no visitation. A memorial has been established in Jim's honor and kindly suggested to the family for later designation. Expressions of caring and kindness can be sent to the family at www.nelsonbauerfh.com

The Nelson-Bauer Funeral Home in Holdrege is in charge of the arrangements.

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