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James "Rusty" Swan

RAPID CITY | James W. "Rusty" Swan, 84, died Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019, at Rapid City Regional Hospital.

Rusty was born Nov. 29, 1934, in Des Moines, IA, to Joyce and Polly (Snider) Swan. He graduated from The Blake Preparatory School in Minneapolis, MN, and from Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, in 1957 with a major in Economics. While attending Princeton he was a member of the Cap and Gown eating club and played 150-lb football. Rusty enlisted in the U.S. Navy on Jan. 3, 1958 and was honorably discharged as a LTJG on Feb. 4, 1961.

He married Esther "Elf" Freyborg on Nov. 9, 1963, in Worthington, MN.

Rusty was a loving husband and very supportive father. He attended all tennis matches, baseball games and horse shows — typically standing on the side quietly supporting all the kids. He was an avid skier and spent nearly every weekend on the slopes. In summer he could be seen on the golf course trying to play 18 holes as fast as he could. He loved to read while his dogs were by his side.

Rusty served as President and Publisher of the Rapid City Journal from 1971 until he retired in 1985. Before the newspaper he served as assistant business manager of the Great Falls (Montana) Tribune and advertising sales at Honeywell, Inc. in Minneapolis. He was involved with numerous associations within the Black Hills area including Mount Rushmore Society, Mount Rushmore Hall of Records, United Way, Salvation Army, and the Chamber of Commerce.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Rusty is survived by his wife, Esther "Elf", Rapid City; son, J. Alan (Lulie) Swan, Lake Mary, FL; daughter, Nancy (Michael) Ihle, Southlake, TX; three grandchildren, Collin Swan, Alyssa and Megan Ihle; and sister, Sonya (Robert) Williams, Seattle, WA.

Services will be at 11 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 15, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, with Rev. Bob Jacobs officiating. Burial will be at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis, with full military honors provided by the Rushmore VFW Post 1273 and the U.S. Navy Honor Guard.

A memorial has been established to Storybook Island.

His online guestbook is available at

the life of: Swan, James 'Rusty'
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