Gene A. Swanson passed away Jan. 30, 2017, at Bayside Care Center, Morro Bay, Calif.
Born in Kane, Pa., in June 1936, Gene was the youngest child of Carl Leo Swanson and Mildred Christenson Swanson. Raised and educated there, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force shortly after he graduated high school in 1954.
He married Carol F. Gerlach on June 29, 1957, while spending his next 20 years in the Air Force. They raised three children together.
Over those years, Gene trained in strategic air command exercises, retrained into the guided missile electronics field, combat crew training and training on the Mace missile, becoming one of the first crew chiefs to become operative ready after the group was activated.
Reassigned eventually to the Titan III C project office as a flight control specialist, he was a member of the launch team placing a string of military communication satellites in orbit around the world. Training as a guidance technician on the Mace missile, he spent his final years as an operational missile senior controller.
Then, finally completing his service as a shop supervisor/assistant in the 355th Tactical drone Squadron at Davis Monthan AF Base in Tuscon, Ariz., in 1975, Gene moved to Paso Robles, Calif., with his family. He worked first at the Color Wheel, then 20 years until his second retirement at Blake’s True Value Hardware in Paso Robles.
Gene is survived by his wife Carol; son Tom of Baton Rouge, La.; daughter Kathleen (Mark) Schoenau of Fresno, Calif.; seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren and numerous nephews and nieces.
Gene was preceded in death by his daughter Kirsten Wilson; his parents; his brother Tom Swanson; and sisters Ferne Danielson, Helen Huckabone and Marjorie Sanders.
A funeral service will be held at Bethel Lutheran Church in Templeton Feb. 10 at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Gene’s name to the military charity of your choice.
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