Cover photo for Donald Schwans's Obituary
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1939 Donald 2023

Donald Schwans

October 4, 1939 — December 21, 2023


Donald Schwans, 84, of Bridgewater passed away on Dec. 21st at his home in Bridgewater. Funeral Services will be held on Thursday Dec. 28th at 10:30 am at St. Stephen's Catholic Church in Bridgewater. Visitation will be Wednesday Dec. 27th from 5-7 pm at the church with a rosary to be said at 7pm.

Donald Jay Schwans, 84, was born October 4th, 1939 to John W. and Margaret (Hoffman) Schwans. He passed away peacefully at his home on December 21st, 2023.

He was born and grew up on the same farm Southwest of Bridgewater as his mother. Don attended St. Stephen’s Catholic School through 8th grade, then graduated from Bridgewater High School in 1958. He was very active and reminded his grandsons of his middle school basketball glory days when he scored 22 points and his brother scored 2, for the team total of 24. Before his high school graduation he met Madelynne and asked her to his Senior dance. He spent many Sunday afternoons visiting Madelynne’s family, playing cards and visiting while they were in high school.

He attended SDSU for one year, but changed courses and enrolled at Nettleton Business College in Sioux Falls through 1960. He worked as a bookkeeper at Hassenstein Steel Company until 1964.

On September 7th, 1963 he married Madelynne McCormick at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Salem, SD. They both worked in Sioux Falls for a short time. In the Spring of 1964 they moved to a farm near Bridgewater, where they milked cows and farmed with his parents. Their marriage was blessed with four children: Pamela, Michael, John, and David. The family then returned to the Hoffman Farm, the place of his birth, in the Spring of 1980.

In 1993, after nearly 30 years of farming and milking, Don & Madelynne sold their dairy cows and purchased the Corner Market grocery store in Bridgewater; They operated Schwans Market for 21 years until retirement on June 1st, 2014. Don continued to farm the Hoffman homeplace, with the help of his sons, that his father had purchased from his mother-in-law, yielding his best crop in his last harvest in the Fall of 2023.

He was very generous, hard working, and loved to visit about farming, sports, and local happenings. He played countless hands of cards and was dedicated to service. He was part of the National Guard, held offices on the REA and Bridgwater School boards, and was a lifetime member of St. Stephen’s Catholic Church and active in the Knights of Columbus. He continued his wife Madelynne’s ministry of assisting the sisters at the Carmelite Monastery in Alexandria, SD until his death.

Don is survived by his children Pamela (Jerry) Evans, Crofton, NE; Michael (Lisa) Schwans, Yankton, SD; John Schwans, Bridgewater, SD; David (Joy) Schwans, Montrose, SD; 10 grandchildren and 10 greatgrandchildren; his sister Rosalie (Schwans) Weber and brother Dareld (Sandy) Schwans, Sioux Fall, SD; brothers-in-law Jim (Lois) McCormick and Steve (Joyce) McCormick; sister-in-law Betty McCormick, Canistota, SD: and nieces, nephews, and many relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his wife Madelynne, parents John & Margaret Schwans, in-laws Francis (Ted) & Louise McCormick, brothers-in-law Patrick McCormick and Bernie Weber, grandson-in-law Eric Schellpeper, and nephew Christopher Weber.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks to consider a donation to: Stephen’s Catholic Church, the sisters at the Carmelite Monastery, or local Bridgewater organizations.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Donald Schwans, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, December 27, 2023

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

St. Stephen's Catholic Church

351 N. Juniper Ave, Bridgewater, SD 57319

Rosary to be said at 7 pm

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

St. Stephen's Catholic Church

351 N. Juniper Ave, Bridgewater, SD 57319

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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