Mary Swenningson

March 12, 1939-Jan. 13, 2021

Mary L. Swenningson,

81, New Town, ND passed

away Wednesday, January

13, 2021 at her residence

in New Town, ND.

Springan Stevenson

Funeral Home of Stanley

has been entrusted with

arrangements and ser-

vices. Friends may sign

the on-line register and

give their condolences at



Mary’s Private Grave-

side Service will be held

at 1:00 PM on Wednes-

day, January 20, 2021 at

the North Dakota Veterans

Cemetery in Mandan,

North Dakota. Pastor

Sarah Sorenson will offi-

ciate. Visitation will be

held on Tuesday, January

19, 2021 from 2:00 PM to

4:00 PM at the Springan

Stevenson Funeral Home

Chapel in Stanley, ND.

The Graveside Service

will be broadcast, please

follow the link on Mary’s

service information on

our website



Due to Covid 19, we ask

that everyone adheres to

local and state require-

ments for social distanc-


Mary Louise Nelson

was born on March 12th,

1939 in Breckenridge, MN

to (Mom) Mary Louise

Nelson. They lived on a

farm located 8 miles north

of Stanley, ND until mov-

ing to Flaxton, ND where

Mary found work as a

housekeeper on a farm of

Charles Ragnell. It was

while working there that

she met her husband

(Dad) Chris J. Christen-

sen. Then moved to the

farm in 1944 to become

their housekeeper.

Mary’s parents then got

married on November 11,

1945. Mary Lou went to a

one room county school

in Richland #2 from

grades 1-8 then graduated

in Burke County court-

house in Bowbells, ND in

May of 1953 and was also

the last student to gradu-

ate from there. She then

started High School in

Flaxton for two years then

transferred to Stanley

where she graduated in

May of 1957!

In June of 1957 Mary

Lou then join the

Women’s Army Corps

(WAC’S), entered in ser-

vice at Fargo, ND was sent

to Fort McClelland (Anis-

ton) Alabama for basic

training then on to Fort

Sam Houston (San An-

tonio) Texas for Medical

Training then onto

Fitzsimmons Army Hospi-

tal in Denver, CO to work

as a Medic. On December

1958 Mary Lou went to

Heidelberg, Germany to

work in station hospital.

While there she met

George Firth O’Brien of

Philadelphia, PA then

they married and their

twin daughters (Linda

Marie and Laura Kay)

were born in Heidelberg

on November 14th, 1961.

Mary Lou was discharged

then from the Women’s

Army Corp’s (WAC’S) in

1961. Then in May of

1962 they moved to Ft. Ri-

ley (Junction City) Kansas.

While living there their

sons (John Patrick born in

1963 and then James

Christopher in 1964) were


Then in 1965 Mary Lou

and her children moved

to Flaxton, ND and lived

on the farm while George

was serving in Vietnam.

In 1966 they moved to

Munich, Germany and in

1968 moved to Philadel-

phia, PA. Mary Lou and

children then moved back

to Stanley, ND in No-

vember 1972 and di-

vorced March 1973.

In August 1973 Mary

Lou began working at

Mountrail County

Sheriff’s Department as a

dispatcher for Sheriff

Ralph Hamre and then in

1998 dispatched for Sher-

iff Ken Halvorson until

2002. There a lot more

changes throughout those

years but that is a whole

other story by itself! In

April 1979 Mary Lou mar-

ried Rickey Loren Swen-

ningson in Stanley, ND

where they continued to

raise their children and

living a great life with one


Mary Lou enjoyed

spending time with family

and friends-.especially

her time with her

grandchildren and

great-grandchildren that

kept her going! She loved

sharing stories and of

course we all can’t forget

all the things she has

taught us throughout the

days of her life. She loved

reading books and also

reading to her

great-grandchildren as

well. Mary had a mind

that was always solving

problems, mysteries and

loved working on family

genealogy. She was a very

tuff woman and didn’t

take any crap from

anyone-..She was always

straight to the point! She

was the rock to many peo-

ple! We will all continue

to miss them short phone

call visits to always check

in! We all know she is at

peace now with the one’s

she loved the most! This

ends the saga of Mary Lou

for now!

May Lou is survived

by: daughters, Linda

Marie Belstad (Adrian) of

New Town, ND and Laura

Kay Norton (Rocky) of

Watford City, ND; son,

John Patrick O’Brien (An-

nette) of Ogden, Utah; 7

grandchildren, Rodney

O’Brien of Minot ND, Jus-

tin Norton (Krystal) of

Rock Springs, WY, Tina

Leppell (Wesley) of Keene

ND, Savannah Norton of

Williston ND, Adriana

Fladeland (Rocky) of Ross,

ND, Hazel Belstad (Willy)

of St. Regis, MT, Jordan

Norton (Mariah) of Wat-

ford City ND; 13

great-grandchildren, Jake,

Kellie, Eli, Jasiah, Ayla,

McKenley, Maleah, Jus-

tice, Jace, Zander, Ella,

Jaelynn and Nala; step-

daughters, Glenda, Sonya,

Shawn and Barb and

many more; stepson, Pepi

and Jerry Clark (Cindy) a

special family friend that

continued to help out

throughout the years!

She is preceded in

death by: her husband,

Ricky Swenningson;

mother, Mary Christensen

& father, Chris J. Christen-sen; son, James O’Brien

and many more family &


The family would like

to thank you all for all of

the many prayers.