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Ralph Swift

1928 - 2016 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Ralph Swift Obituary
Ralph Swift

Ralph H. "Hal" Swift of Sparks died on August 31, 2016. He was born December 17, 1928 in Speedway City, Indiana to Gleda (Shepherd) Swift and Allen Jacob Swift. He was educated in Indiana and Arizona public schools.

A professional musician in the 1940s, he was a bassist with the Phoenix Concert Orchestra, now the Phoenix Symphony. He performed with a number of outstanding jazz artists of the day including guitarist Howard Roberts and pianist Pete Jolly. He also worked with the young Marty Robbins.

Hal was a U.S. Navy radio operator and Morse Code specialist in the Japan occupation forces, and served during the Korean War.

He worked many years in Reno area radio, after coming here from Sacramento in 1967. His was a familiar voice on KOH, the "old" KSRN and the "new" KSRN, KCRL, and KHWG. He was inducted into the Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in August of 2005.

In Hal's later years, he wrote and published stories and poems about Nevada and the West. He also recorded several CDs of his poetry.

Hal is survived by his wife of 64 years, Carol June (DeBra), a retired teacher; son Gary (Rose) of Gardnerville; son David of Reno; son Brian (Lesley) of Greenville, SC; five grandchildren; a sister, Betty, and several nephews and nieces in Arizona.

No memorial service is planned but friends and fans are encouraged to check out Hal's book Cowboy Poems and Outright Lies from the Washoe County Library.
Published in Reno Gazette-Journal from Sept. 20 to Sept. 27, 2016
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