Marvin "Swede" Ellstrom was born in Moline, Illinois on May 15, 1906. He graduated from Moline High School in 1924 and went on to play college football at Northern Oklahoma College in 1926. Two years later he transferred to the University of Oklahoma, playing there in 1930 and 1931.

After college Swede played for the Philadelphia Eagles before being traded to the Boston Redskins in 1934. With the Redskins he was a running back and played in three games.

In 1935 he played for the Pittsburgh "Football" Pirates and in 1936 for the Chicago Cardinals. He was cut from the Cardinals and moved on to play for the Boston Shamrocks in 1936.

He was employed at Conoco, as the athletic instructor, for four years before entering the Navy during World War II, serving in the South Pacific as a Seabee.

After the war he entered the construction business in Tonkawa, Oklahoma with G&S Construction. He went on to work for Oil Tool Company until 1972.

Swede Ellstrom passed away on April 25, 1994, at age 87, Tonkawa.