M. L. Swanda, aka, “Bill,” took his last breath on earth and inhaled his first heavenly breath on Valentine’s Day, just before midnight. Devoted and loving wife Carole Swanda, held his hand until God mercifully freed his everlasting soul from his body of 87 years.
April 9, 1922-February 14, 2010.
Such a life to live. The Dustbowl, learning the ways of his Native American family, near pro baseball player, years of hard, laborious work in many states far from home to provide for his family and then, the loss of a wonderful woman, Hazel, Bill’s first wife and mother of their two children, Diana and Willie. His final resting place will be beside Hazel in Davis, Oklahoma.
After many years of outfitting, leading horseback rides, hunting, fishing and camping throughout the mountains of Pagosa Springs, Bill proudly gave Crazy Horse Outfitter and Guides to his son, Willie Swanda. After retiring from the business, he and Carole continued to donate their time and efforts toward benefiting the business. Bill continued to ride his loyal horse, Dollar, educating and sharing his love of the mountains with family, friends and tourists. During the off-season, they enjoyed each other’s company traveling from Oklahoma where Bill’s daughter Diana and husband Raymond live, accommodating southern hospitality, relaxation and unforgettable enjoyment. Then they were off to California and every place in between. Family and friends are abundant, and the last decade was filled with adventure and love.
Bill is survived by his wife, Carole, daughter and son-in-law Diana and Raymond Stelting, son Billy (Willie), stepdaughters Michelle Dunaway and husband Byron Adams, Dee Dee and husband Max Magana, grandchildren, Scott Stelting and wife Rachel, Neal Stelting and Kirk Stelting and wife Tonya, Amy Swanda and husband Michael Bond, Daniel Swanda, Desi Dunaway, Dustin Krebs, Thomas Steffen, Sidney Steffen, Kazi and Sage Magana, great-grandchildren, Brooklyn, Nathan, Mackenna and Maddilyn.
Be his name Melvin, Bill, Billy, Dad, Grandpa, Cowboy Grandpa or pop, those of us grieving the loss of this amazing man are too numerous to count, but, if he were here, he could give us an accurate number and the names of every one of us.
In lieu of flowers, please send your memorial donations to LASSO at 1360 Terry Robinson Road, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147-9715. This is a horse rescue non-profit organization that Bill supported.
There will be a celebration of life in late spring or early summer in Pagosa Springs.