Gary Robert Swanson March 17, 1942 – December 7, 2010 A man considered a Living Legend was lost to us Tuesday night. Gary Robert Swanson, world renowned wildlife artist, loving husband, wonderful father, adoring Papa, and a great friend to all who crossed his path, passed suddenly and far too soon for those he leaves behind. Gary is survived by his wife of 47 years, Audreyetta; son, Trevor Swanson, his wife Jennifer, their two children Connor and Devon; daughter, Kimberly Swanson Clemmer, her husband, Tyler, their three sons, Nickalaus, Johnathan, and Jakeb; his brother, Arthur Swanson and sister, Mary Dodge. Solace is taken in the knowledge that he was greeted at the gates of heaven with the open arms of his father, mother, and brother, Ray. Gary was countless things to an infinite number of people. The list of those whose lives he has touched with sometimes simple, but always memorable moments is endless. Friendly and compassionate, he constantly gave without thought of repayment, offered to help before being asked, and was the strength and encouragement for many. The stories are countless of the times when Gary stepped in to help a friend who was going through a rough patch and without the need of thanks would lend his strong shoulder for support. He was blessed with many gifts and he was never happier than when he could share those gifts with the people around him. Gary Swanson was born in Alcester, South Dakota on March 17, 1942. He was raised on the family farm with two brothers, Ramon and Arthur, and younger sister, Mary. When his father passed away Gary was only 15. Soon after, the family moved to Southern California where Gary began to develop his sense of adventure and wanderlust. He lived in Seattle and Alaska expanding his skill in taxidermy and developing a love of the wild places that would come to drive his life and passion when he turned his attention to artistic endeavors. After many years as a taxidermist, Gary had developed a love, understanding, and passion for wildlife. With urging from his older brother Ray, Gary took up the brush and worked diligently to portray his vision of the world through the medium of oil on canvas. Gary quickly earned a name for himself in the art world with his detailed depictions of the places he had been, traveling the world multiple times to experience first hand the beauty each place has to offer. Gary rose to prominence in his career both by personality and exceptional talent. He was known for his boisterous laugh, contagious whistle, and a welcoming embrace. He had a way of inviting people in to join him in his world of adventure that left everyone in his wake smiling. He was larger than life with a heart as big as the landscape he loved to explore, always curious.... "I wonder what is on the other side of that mountain?" Pericles said, "What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others." Gary Swanson will be remembered most for what he has woven into our lives. If the measure of a man is how many stand up to say thank you at his passing, then Gary was an incredible man indeed. "I feel the loss in the world" a family friend said when struck with the news about Gary's passing. Those sentiments are shared by many who have come forward to offer condolences and help these last few days to those who feel the loss the deepest. God blessed this earth with very few men like Gary Swanson, he will be missed. A viewing will be held from 2 to 4:00 p.m. Friday, December 10th at Callahan-Edfast Mortuary, 2515 Patterson Road, Grand Junction, CO 81505. Services will follow. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to Water for Wildlife, 545 Main Street - Lander, WY 82520. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in The Daily Sentinel on Dec. 10, 2010.