Carl Wilson Swonson was born November 16,1932, to Hetty Esther (Nee: Cottam) and William Russell Swonson in Salt Lake City, Utah, the tenth child of what would be eleven children.
Carl grew up in Salt Lake City and enjoyed being outdoors, hunting and fishing, as well as a good card game. Golfing and caddying with his Dad and family were some of his favorite memories and were strong in the formation of his life long career and hobby.
Carl began coming to Missoula, by train and hitch-hiking in the summers of his high school years, to caddy at The Missoula Country Club where his eldest brother, Russ was head professional, and fell in love with Western Montana.
In 1951, Carl enlisted in the United States Navy and was stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii until 1954. He travelled the Pacific from Alaska to Saigon aboard USS Agawam gasoline tanker where he served as a cook. He witnessed a Hydrogen Bomb detonation on Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
Following his time in the Navy he married Sharon Stanley and of their union two children were born Steven and Treena.
Carl became a golf pro, and was selected to become the first professional at the University of Montana golf course in the late 50's, where some of his tasks included wandering the surrounding hills digging saplings to plant on the course, many of which tower along the fairways today. He also held jobs in Idaho at several venues including Caldwell, Gooding and at the Hillcrest Country Club in Boise, ID. Montana called him back with opportunity as he worked at Van Evans Mill in Missoula in the early1970's. There he met his long-time hunting/fishing partner, David Holy, who would spend the next 50-some years sharing laughs and beers, making legendary memories in the field, endlessly teasing each other, and swapping dollar bills lost and regained on football bets and fish measurements!
In August of 1974, he married Martha and grew his family with the adoption of daughter Patty and later, the birth of son Jeff.
Carl went on to work at All American Bumper and Plating until 1984, when he became Groundskeeper at the newly established Larchmont Golf Course in Missoula. He was hired by his good friend and Head PGA Professional Bob Schuyler whom which he caddied and flew in his Cessna to various Pro-am tournaments and U.S. Open qualifiers. Carl painstakingly weeded and planted the flowerbeds around Larchmont and also blossomed MANY friendships with golfers and co-workers alike. As he would visit with all the players passing by, he could not possibly remember all the names, so to all the fellas he would say:
"Hey, Pro! How are you?" and to the ladies, it was: "You sweet thing!"...but everybody knew Carl.
In 2000, he hung up his pruning shears with ailing back and knees, for a "cushier office-job" pedaling golf equipment with his son, Jeff at the newly established Diamondback Golf. He shined once more greeting the same folks he had seen as he bent over in the flowerbeds of Larchmont but could now "shoot the breeze" in the shade, and sell golf equipment to young and old...truly his people.
He retired around 2010 after health issues struck his mobility and stole his golf swing, but never gave up his passions for golf and the outdoors watching and teaching his children and grandchildren.
He spent the latter years in the assistance of his 47-year fishing/hunting/golfing/card-playing side-kick son Jeff and
his wife Rebecca that signed-on in 2017 giving superb comfort and support in his final years.
His long-time neighbor, Joanne Manchester, was a very special friend in their later years after she was widowed, and Carl divorced. They shared many wonderful years dancing, road-tripping to visit family and site-seeing, gambling for 5-cent cribbage games, golf and football pools, until her death in 2022.
His last year on Earth has been one of celebration with MANY family members attending his 90th birthday party at Broadway Inn (where our reception will be held). In April, he landed "Boxcar", a 5 pound rainbow trout off the shore of Brown's Lake with his son, Jeff assisting the landing. And in July, Rebecca and Jeff loaded him up for one last return to his birthplace, as the Swonson Clan amassed for a family reunion for the ages where Carl and his surviving sister-in-law Frankie Swonson were both honored and adored.
His care-givers Breezy, Susan, and Rebecca's saintly mother Donna Zatorowski (who would stay up way past her own bedtime watching countless westerns along with her other care-giving tasks.) are to commended for their excellent care and service.
Carl's grandkids were the brightest gleam in his eye, and he fiercely loved each and every one of them, and would light up each time they visited or had news from them.
Left to cherish Carl's memory are his children Steven Swonson of Colorado, Patty (Bajin) Job of Washington State, and Jeff (Rebecca) Swonson of Missoula. His grandchildren (and great-grandchildren): Cory (Trystan/Olivia), Brooke (Jade), Riley, Trevor, Brittany(Isabella/Jace/Eva), Brandon(Baylor),
Janelle(Liam/Luca/+One in the oven), and Jennifer(Brody/Blake/Kruz), and Carl's loyal napping-partner, Juju.
He was preceded in death by all his siblings: Russ, Harry, Mary, Jack, Gloria, Claire, Ella Jane, Robert, Dick and younger brother Keith and his daughter Treena Swonson.
By his request, his ashes will be spread near his favorite fishing hole along the Jocko River where he enjoyed "dipping a line" with his relatives and friends since the 1970's.
His was a life well lived, and he has touched the hearts of so many. It is with great honor, and comforting relief that we remember this great man and celebrate his reunion with so many loved ones that have passed before him.