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.