GEORGE GARY SWAN P.Eng.
July 28, 1935 – August 8, 2023
Peacefully on Tuesday August 8, 2023, in the morning hours and in his 89th year Dad passed away at the Grace General Hospital following a difficult illness. Dad was predeceased by his parents Gladys and Georg, siblings Ron and Dennis as well as many friends. He is survived by his loving wife Mary Anne, his children Ken (Gayle), Barbara and Kelvin as well as his cherished grandsons Kyle and Ryan (Sydnee), his special great grandchildren Isla and Keanan, fishing buddy and fellow storyteller O.A. (Ben) Rogers, as well as many nieces and nephews.
Dad loved to celebrate any family accomplishments, birthdays, promotions, Christmas, hockey goals, surviving a workday, those sorts of things. His favorite go-to was always Rae and Jerry’s, backed up by ribs at Montana’s.
Dad was a lifelong multisport athlete playing ice hockey, field hockey, track, shot put, ran marathons and was one of the Norwood boys of the 50’s excelling at football. Football was his sport. He never missed a bomber game even while confined to hospital, he always rallied to watch the game and reveled in their success this year so far. He played with the Champlain Flyers, being selected for 2 all-star teams. After making the Blue Bombers training camp in the late 1950’s a knee injury side lined him. He skated regularly and coached hockey goalies later in life while in his 70’s, while seldom ever missing one of his grandson’s hockey games no matter what province they played in. He was involved in too many sports and fishing stories to tell here, and it’s possible some of them were true. He graduated from the University of Manitoba is 1960 as a civil engineer, built a home in Charleswood and a had a career as a civil engineer starting at Templeton Engineering, the R.M. of Charleswood and continued with the City of Winnipeg post amalgamation as a district engineer until retirement. In 1972 he earned his diploma in Commerce from the same university. Dad was very proud of the fact that he was the project manager for the St. James Bridge construction at the onset of his career.
His 40-year passion was the cottage he hand built at Long Lake, MB in the Nopiming Provincial Park starting in 1981 and the time he spent there. He loved to fish and spent countless hours and days fishing in Long Lake at a spot he dubbed Pickeral Bay. The cottage was built originally with water access only and a canoe. Dad never believed in short cuts, always believing that the hard way was possibly the best way.
In 1990 he discovered we had family in Germany, specifically his father’s family and that led to many cross-ocean visits in both directions. Dad and Mary Anne were greeted like long lost royalty when our European family greeted them. His father Georg Schwanner had arrived in Winnipeg in the early 1930’s, shortened the family name to Swan but contact with his family was severed by WW2. Dad loved his Ancestry and DNA quests and was shocked to find out he was originally of Scandinavian descent not German. That led to many lively discussions (read arguments) about how that could even be possible.
Dad and Mary Anne travelled much of eastern Canada, the continental US, Europe and later wintered in Hawaii and Florida for many years.
Mary Anne was at his bedside every day for two months. Special thanks to Dr. Serena Nelko, our hero for what she did for Dad while he was in hospital and especially in his last hours assisted by nurse Maggie. Dad was cared for by many nurses including Nira, Kate, Susan, Brianna and Julia, to name a few, at 5 North where he spent the last two months of his life. A few names are missing but you know who you are.
At Dad’s request there will be no formal service. In lieu of flowers Dad asked that his favorite charities be supported; Cancer Care and Winnipeg Harvest.