In Memory

Robert Swanson VIEW PROFILE

Funeral services for Robert (Boss) Swanson will be held Wednesday, October 2nd at 2 p.m. at Christ Lutheran Church in Big Sandy.

Robert Leonard Swanson was born June 13, 1935 in Havre, MT to Leonard and Mary (LaBuda) Swanson. He was joined shortly thereafter by his twin sister, Roberta and three years later by his younger sister, Marian.

He was raised on the family farm west of Big Sandy and attended Mountain View Elementary School and Big Sandy High School. Upon his graduation from high school in 1953, he attended Northern Montana College, where he received a certificate in mechanics and subsequently worked at Placer Motors in Helena, MT. 

He returned to Northern Montana College a few years later to finish his degrees in auto mechanics and industrial arts. He began his teaching career at North Toole County High School in Sunburst, MT. It was there that he met and married fellow teacher, Marilyn Grande in August of 1964.

In the fall of 1964, he returned to Northern Montana College, only this time as a teacher. A year later, he was asked to return to NTCHS, where he taught the next 28 years. He was a very charismatic and respected teacher, working with students in the classroom and as an advisor for Plymouth Troubleshooting competitions. His true love was the classroom, and many of his fondest memories were of his experiences with his students.

Upon his retirement from NTCHS in 1992, he returned to the family farm in Big Sandy to take over where his father and uncle had left off. When his battle with Parkinson’s disease left him unable to continue his work on the farm, he passed it onto his daughter and son-in-law, who operate it along with their sons.

Robert was active as a member of the church councils of Sunburst Lutheran Church and Christ Lutheran Church in Big Sandy. He also spent many hours working alongside his friend and fellow board member, Keith Edwards, to create a new addition to the Big Sandy Historical Society Museum.

In 2011, he moved to the Big Sandy Medical Center, where he lived until his death on September 26, 2013.

Robert is survived by his wife, Marilyn; son Glen of Choteau; daughter Melanie (Shaud) Schwarzbach and three grandsons: Eric, Tyler & Cameron. He is also survived by sisters: Roberta Whetham (Big Sandy), Marian Behm (Columbia Falls) & numerous nieces & nephews.

Memorials are suggested to NTCHS, where a Robert Swanson scholarship fund is being set up, or to Christ Lutheran Church (Big Sandy), or to Sunburst Lutheran Church.

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10/03/13 09:00 AM #1    

Korey Fauque (1996)

Shawn Simmes sent the following story.....


I remember one time in shop class as "Boss" was helping me put a small engine together on the shop bench. Boss was working with deep concentration on the engine as he said to me " Simmes, I've got a rhyme for ya". He continued concentrating on the engine when I said "okay boss what's your rhyme". He turned to me and said " there once was a young lass, into the ocean she went, in a bikini, up to her knees", he then went back to work concentrating on the engine not saying another word. I was watching him and kept waiting for him to continue to finish his rhyme but he payed no attention to me and kept his focus on the engine. Finally I could not take it anymore so I said " boss that doesn't rhyme". He turned to me with a big smile on his face and said " Oh Oh Oh, it will when the tide comes in"!!!  I have many catch phrases and wonderful memories that I share with my kids all of the time and this is a story I will clearly remember forever. He was a legend and truly an inspiration to so many lives. R.I.P. Boss you  will be missed but never forgotten. We will meet again someday.

10/03/13 10:41 AM #2    

Rodney Stene (1982)

I've always loved working on cars, so it was no coincidence that auto shop was my favorite class. Boss was a great teacher, and very entertaining. One time I was working on my car, there was something wrong with it, and it had no power, it would only go about 50mph. I had been working on it for a while, and couldn't figure it out. Boss came up to me and asked me if I had checked to make sure the exaust wasn't plugged up. Then he said "I bet you couldn't run very fast if you were all plugged up, Oh Oh Oh".  Love you Boss, RIP.

10/03/13 12:32 PM #3    

Doug Premo (1990)

I have many of memories of Boss and the Swanson family.  Not only as my teacher, also a family that lived next door.  Shootn hoops with Glen, Mel, and sometimes Mr P. in the drive way was at the Swanson house are good times I will never forget.  As far as shop class the home work I never got done, possibly because I was shootn hoops with Glen, I had to do it in his office while others got to work on cars or small engines.  Many of time did I hear “Oh Oh Oh Premos Got The Big Hurt” or “WDP” I believe that was Work Detention Program.  He also has the rhyme “When your dancing with you honey and you nose is kinda runny you think its kinda funny but is snot.”  How I can remember that and “Righty tighty lefty loosy” while still only able to just squeek by with a C- is unknown.   Boss will be always remembered, My Heart goes out to Marilyn, Glen, Mel and Shaud.  Rest In Peace Boss and say Hi to Mr. P. 

10/03/13 06:11 PM #4    

Carol Iverson (Sippel) (1980)

Even those of us who never took one of Boss's classes were familiar with his advice for anyone who wanted an easy answer. . . . . R.T.M!!!!    (Read The Manual)  

10/03/13 09:32 PM #5    

Shawn Simmes (1986)

Another famous "boss" quote was " Make your essay like a mini skirt, nice and short but cover the essentials"

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