Swensen - Celebrating Over 100 Years

We are celebrating more than 100 years of service to the families of Northern Michigan. We treasure the generational loyalty gained through superior craftsmanship, compassionate support and trust. Our staff enjoys sharing in the legacies of your loved ones, and perpetuating those memories with the art of stone.
Over 100 years ago, John Swensen (Johannes Swensen) emigrated from Norway to the United States. By 1913, he had settled in Manistee, MI, where he founded Swensen Monuments. The family business was later carried on by his daughters, Grace and Marion.

During a thirty-plus year span from the 1950s to the 1980s, Grace owned and operated Swensen Memorials from the location on E. Eighth Street in Traverse City, MI. For much of that time, following her husband’s passing in 1957, she was a woman in a man’s business, and holding her own while also raising three children. At one point, there were five Swensen stores in Michigan. Grace has since passed, but leaves behind a very special Swensen legacy. Marion, now retired, continues to live in Manistee.

Some of John Swensen’s original work is still showcased in the Manistee Cemetery. These pieces are made even more impressive when one considers their size, and that hand carving, horses and pulleys were the extent of the available technology.

In 1998, David and Nancy Sietsema expanded their Muskegon establishment, Superior Monument, and purchased Swensen Memorials. Together they brought more than 70 years of experience to the scene, and continued the excellent service of the Swensens. Maintaining the tradition of family, the Sietsema’s invited their daughter, Christine Torrey, to manage the Traverse City store. In 2013 her husband, Pete, joined the family business, bringing more than two decades of management and lay ministry experience with him. Together the Torreys run Swensen Memorials as a place to live out their calling to help people in their times of greatest need.

“We are very pleased with the stone. My father is very satisfied. We greatly appreciate you working with us on the financial part. It was a pleasure working with you Pete and your wife.” – Keith Ball

Today, we are thankfully celebrating more than 100 years of service to the families of Northern Michigan. We treasure the generational loyalty gained through superior craftsmanship, compassionate support and trust.

Please take a few minutes to explore our site, and discover what Swensen Memorials is all about. We would be honored to serve you, and assist you in remembering the legacy of a life well lived.