Marilyn (Swensen-Erickson) Cragun

On Sunday, October 2, 2022, a force of nature named Marilyn (Swensen-Erickson) Cragun passed from this world at the age of 80 in Yankton, SD.  She fought a courageous eight plus year battle with Parkinson’s and dementia.  Anyone who ever met her realized her beauty flowed from the inside out and that she strove to make this a better place and to live each day to the fullest.

Marilyn was born in Yankton and grew up on the family farm on Walshtown Road in Mission Hill.  She was a graduate of Volin High School and the University of South Dakota where she received her teaching and master’s degrees.  She taught school in Vermillion, Pierre and Yankton before finding her passion in sales with Mary Kay.  She attained many accolades over the years and thoroughly enjoyed both her teaching and sales careers.  Her greatest joy in life was how she positively affected others’ lives in whatever she did and her go give spirit was infectious.

She would want you to visit someone at a nursing home instead of waiting to attend their visitation at a funeral home.  You will make someone’s life better and yours will improve as well.  Kindness is free and there is no need to hold it in reserve.  While you are there, thank a staff member for the incredible work they do.  They prove daily that angels do walk amongst us.  Marilyn’s family is forever grateful to Avera Sister James Care Center and Avera Hospice for the amazing care they provided her over the years.

Marilyn is survived by her son, Jay Erickson and his wife Nancy; her grandchildren: Jay, Katie and Maja; her sister, Robin and brother, Gary.  She was preceded in death by her daughter, Autumn; mother, Eileen Swensen; father, Luverne Swensen; and former husband, Donald Erickson.

A celebration of Marilyn’s life will be held Friday, October 14, 2022 at 1:00 PM at the Wintz & Ray Funeral Home in Yankton with family welcoming attendees beginning at 12:30 PM. Burial will be in the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Yankton.  It will be a joyous event to celebrate a truly unique individual with a beautiful soul.

There will be a gathering after the service where Marilyn’s favorite go to meal / snack of strong coffee and doughnuts / cookies will be served.  After you get well caffeinated and amped up on sugar be prepared to share stories and remembrances about Marilyn.  Come with a happy heart, a big smile, skip going back to work, start the weekend early and be ready to have some fun.


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4 response to "Marilyn (Swensen-Erickson) Cragun"

  1. By: Amy Anderson Posted: October 10, 2022

    What a beautiful tribute & photo. We’re keeping you all in our thoughts & prayers. May God hold you in his loving arms & walk with you through this time of grief & mourning. Your mom & family hold a special place in my heart.

  2. By: Katie Boom Posted: October 10, 2022

    Jay & family,
    My deepest condolences. I remember Marilyn well! Such a beautiful, gracious, classy lady!
    I signed up with her to sell Mary Kay. I always laugh when thinking of how she told the story about the poodle that Gary & I had given them. The left over pot roast remained on the dining room table after dinner & the puppy devoured it! She had such a knack for story telling, the biggest smile & bright engaging eyes. She truly had a captive audience.
    I attempted to visit her at Majestic when home one time, but she was not doing well. I was heartbroken as I am now.
    She is now at peace.
    Treasure your memories.
    Katie Boom

  3. By: Craig Johnson Posted: October 12, 2022

    I have known Marilyn since 1970, at Stewart School, where I was student teaching. Later on, I was lucky enough to have Autumn and Jay in my sixth grade class. I also had her sister, Robin. All were a Joy, and very mature. Marilyn always had a smile and made people feel good about themselves. I never saw her without a smile. She was always very well dressed and was a wonderful role model for her students and others. I will miss her, but I’m a better person for having known her. All of her family is in my thoughts and prayers.

  4. By: Duane and Donna Wenzlaff Posted: October 14, 2022

    To Marilyn’s Family,
    Thinking of you and sending sincere sympathy. Duane and Donna Wenzlaff

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