George Lee Swanson

March 2, 1936 ~ March 15, 2021

It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to our spirited and adventurous Dad, George Swanson. Born March 2, 1936 in Marshalltown,Iowa, he enjoyed a humble upbringing which instilled a deeply rooted work ethic and pride in a job well done. Dad led a long and happy life, leaving us on March 15, 2021.

Dad was begrudgingly drafted into military service in 1959 where he served 1 year, 10 months and 7 days. Sent to work at Dugway Chemical Corps, he fell in love with the west and made Utah home. He next fell in love with our very special mom, Jackie Huggins, and the two were married on May 11, 1963. Together they had five children —John, Carol, Steven, Laura, and Nancy. Dad taught us all how to work hard, respect others, be on time, and be financially responsible. He led by example and demonstrated how to enjoy life and not take ourselves too seriously.

As a former flatlander, Dad wholeheartedly embraced skiing, hiking, mountain climbing, snowshoeing, and riding his bicycle. Along with friends Harold, Lyman, Karl, (and perhaps a reluctant child or two) dad scaled every peak in the Wasatch Mountains. He was an accomplished climber taking on adventures around the world including Huascarán in Peru and Mt. Rainier in Washington state. Aside from being with our darling Mom, Dad was happiest in the outdoors.

Dad was an academic and earned a BA in Science and Biology from Iowa State Teachers College and an MS in Zoology and Entomology from the University of Utah. He taught science classes at both East High School and at Hillside Middle School for many years. He had a razor sharp memory and never stopped learning.

When he retired from teaching he enjoyed skiing and snowboarding, building and flying model airplanes, and exploring every alley, street, and avenue of Salt Lake City on foot. He was in excellent physical condition often eating lettuce for a snack! Dad was a subject matter expert of public transportation, and as a responsible environmentalist took the bus or TRAX whenever possible. One of his favorite activities was to take the ski bus to Brighton, snowboard for the afternoon, and then (weather permitting) ride his bicycle down Big Cottonwood Canyon all the way home.

We are very honored to have had such a one of a kind Dad. He took exceptional care of our mom and loved all of his children unconditionally. He made us laugh with his witty, dry sense of humor and was never without a smile. We will miss him dearly. Our family would like to express our sincere appreciation to the unidentified UPS man, the Westminster College campus security personnel, and all of the first responders who came to Dad’s aid. Dad died doing what he loved, whistling and walking. Although his whistle has been silenced, his cheerful melody lives on. As Dad was a private and no fuss kind of fellow there will be no formal service. Condolences to Mom and prayers for our family are appreciated as we navigate our loss.


This amazing man was my uncle. And it was my privilege to know and learn from him. He's cutting a new trail now one we'll be delighted to see him on when that day comes. Love to the Swanson family!

- Keith Maloy
Please accept my condolences. I always admired Uncle George as an avid outdoorsman (hoping I might do the same), a fellow aviation enthusiast, and an excellent gentleman in the purest sense of the word. His presence will certainly be missed but he will remain ever near. With much love, cousin Paul.

- Paul Maloy
Laura, your dad was one of a kind! Always so chipper! I was amazed he ride his bike down big cotton wood canyon in his 80’s! What an inspiration!! My heart is heavy for you & your family! What a beautiful obituary. He will be truly missed! All my love to you! Robin

- Robin Fleischer
George was a model airplane flying buddy of my husband, John. His name is so familiar to me and I note that he attended John's memorial celebration in August of 2017. I believe they also traveled together on a Southern Utah hiking and camping trip. I know that John valued his friendship as well as their Iowa roots, love of their (five each) children, joy of retirement, and appreciation of the great outdoors.

- Dee Rowland
Sounds like he was a wonderful dad and husband! I have no doubt he will be missed!! We love you guys! Love, Mike and Beth Williams

- Beth Williams
Thinking of you and sending my deepest sympathy.

- Renee Tanner
My husband Harald first met George at the Wasatch Mountain Club many years ago. What a friendship that became through the years. It was a great loss to my husband on the news that George had passed away. Whenever I met George he always had a huge smile and quick to laugh. They were an unlikely twosome. George was a gentle giant. May the Lord bless and keep you, and you find peace at this sad time.

- Lesley Goeckeritz
I lost a very dear friend on March. We both enjoyed the outdoors together. We always had a wonderful time in the beauty of nature. He was the best friend anyone could ask for. He will be sorely missed. We flew airplanes, climbed mountains, and skied the slopes of Utah. May his sweet wife and family be comforted and blessed during this time of sorrow.

- Harald Goeckeritz
Dear Steve and Family, I’m so sorry for the loss of your dear father and friend. Please know of my thoughts and prayers in your behalf. May the Lord bless and comfort you. Sincerely yours, Sheri Dye

- Sheri Dye
What a nice obituary! Well done, cousins. I’m so sorry for your loss but how great that your dad was active to the end. He was quite the adventurer. Thinking of you all with love.

- Linda Bosen
Deepest sympathy Jackie and to your family. Pauline and Mike

- Mike and Pauline Gunn