George Swan

George left his earthly life January 3, 2020. He is survived by Elizabeth (Betty) Swan, his wife of 63 years, and their sons George Robert Swan, Jr, Steven McCahan Swan and Michael Scott Swan, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

George was born October 23, 1931, in Washington, D.C. to Christopher MacDonald Swan and Jeanette Ure Swan. The family soon moved to Swarthmore, PA where George attended kindergarten and there met, and later married, his wife Betty. He attended Episcopal Academy the last three years of high school graduating in 1950 and then went on to graduate from Colgate University in upstate New York.

His love of sports kept him involved in all he could fit into his schedule, and he remained an avid sports fan throughout his life, attending and encouraging all his sons and following all their events through high school and college.

George's parents had moved east during depression years, so most of George's relatives were still "out west", where one of his uncle's owned and operated a large sheep and cattle ranch in Utah, which George grew to love. From high school on, he traveled every summer to work on the ranch. His love of the west continued to grow, and six months after he and Betty were married, they headed west once again with all their belongings loaded in an old moving van.

George's first job in Bear Lake, UT was as a ranch hand, and Betty worked as the local public health nurse. After one year, they moved to Promontory Point on the salt flats of Utah where George managed the Swan Brothers, his cousins' hay ranch. Two months after their arrival, their first son Rory (George Jr.) was born.

Two years later they moved to Manila, UT to manage the ranch of an aging Utah legislator. George also took on an additional position with Peter Kiewit, the contractor who was building the Flaming George Dam, which would eventually back up the Green River all the way to WY. Starting first as a carpenter foreman, George was soon put in the position of Assistant Powerhouse Supervisor. Meanwhile, Betty worked at the construction hospital until the birth of their second son, Steven. For the next two years with the funds they were able to save, they purchased cattle and grazing ground in the area. After five years in Manila, they were able to buy an 1880 homesteaded ranch north of Twin Bridges, MT where they wanted to live and raise their family.

Their third son, Michael, was born at the hospital in Sheridan, MT. Eventually all three sons graduated from Twin Bridges High School.

George became very involved in the community and the school as a creative problem solver and foresighted thinker with a strong will and body, and love of community. He enjoyed being able to contribute and tackle what he perceived to be the foremost issues of the time. As a member of the school board for almost two decades, he promoted the building of the football field, track, weight room, and a stage for the speech and drama department.

Another great joy was in conservation of land and water as he strove to maintain the beauty and productivity of the Ruby Valley. He was actively involved from the beginning with the Ruby Habitat Foundation, and with the Montana Fish & Game promoting soil and river conservation and stream access. As a leader of the Upper Ruby Stock Association for many years, he worked with the U.S. Forest Service on issues pertaining to grazing rights and permits, and other issues benefiting the forest and permittees.

The purchase of the First National Bank of Twin Bridges in 1982 with several other community members, to maintain its leadership locally, was as important to him as it was to those who joined in this endeavor.

After retirement, he and Betty moved to the Manhattan area to be closer to kids and grandkids.

He leaves this present life with a sense of gratitude to all who enriched his life on earth, and to God who gave him the opportunity and "tools" to be of help to others.

Services will be held at the Twin Bridges High School Gymnasium on Sunday, January 12, 2020, at 2:00pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Park Haven Memory Center in Manhattan, Dry Creek Church in Belgrade, or Twin Bridges High School Foundation.

  • south dakota
  • north dakota
  • minnesota
  • 2020 ks directory