Gordon A Swann left for another world on May 22nd, 2014. He will be missed by Jody as her best friend and husband and by the world as a friend, colleague, and Masonic brother.
Gordon was born in Palisade, CO, September 21, 1931, and remained in Colorado to graduate from high school in Olathe, CO in 1949. After serving in the U.S. Navy from 1952 to 1956, he returned to the University of Colorado to attain a Ph. D. in 1962, one of the pioneers in a study of the Precambrian geology of the Front Range of Colorado. His career in the U.S. Geological Survey began in Denver in 1963 and moved to Flagstaff in 1964. He trained astronauts to perform lunar geologic investigations, educated NASA bureaucrats, and planned missions throughout the Apollo program of manned planetary studies. He was responsible for designing the goals and procedures that the Apollo astronauts would use to explore, photograph, and sample the moon. One of his special accomplishments was personally demonstrating to doubting NASA astronauts that real geological science could be carried out by while constrained inside the confining space suit used on the missions. Following the lunar studies, Gordon served as Deputy Assistant Regional Geologist for the Center of Astrogeology and adjunct professor at Northern Arizona University, teaching and serving as a thesis advisor. Adding to the admiration of his colleagues, Gordon also received professional awards which included the NASA Medal for Scientific Achievement and the American Institute of Professional Geologists Excellence Award. In recognition of the respect accorded him, the asteroid “Swann” was named for Gordon.
Besides his professional excellence, Gordon served as Master of Flagstaff Masonic Lodge No. 7 in 1986. He was also honored by being awarded the Thirty Third Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite Masons and received two Albert Pike awards for his work in the Scottish Rite degrees in the Tucson Consistory.
Friends who accompanied him river rafting, boating, camping, or RVing were often entertained by his stories, raunchy jokes, songs, and Robert Service recitations. (See Gordon Swann Sam McGee on You Tube). For the past ten years Gordon and Jody had spent their summers in Port Townsend, WA where they developed a love for the Pacific Northwest, crabbing and clamming, and making many new friends. Gordon enjoyed friends, people, and life in general for 82 years and swept others along in that enjoyment. Gordon is survived by his wife, Jody, four children, Steve, Wendy, Randy, Heidi, stepson Chris Loman, nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
A Masonic funeral will be held Saturday May 31st at 11am at the Masonic Temple.
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