Donald “Bounce” Swift passed away peacefully in his home in Monument, Colorado on January 17, 2020, surrounded by his family.
Don was born on April 5th, 1932 in Kitchener, Ontario and grew up in St. Thomas, Ontario, which was home to his heart. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force to fulfill his dream of flying and he remained very close to the men and families of his flight school in Claresholm, Alberta. He went on to fly for the Royal Air Force and United Airlines. After a distinguished career flying too many aircraft to recount, he retired from the “left seat” of the 747-400 flying trans-Pacific routes.
Some of the “Pappo-isms” we will miss the most are: the “elbow tuck” playing cards, “shooting the bull” by the horseshoe pit with his gang, inappropriate jokes, and most of all, his signature eyebrows, which he accused his family of trimming in his sleep.
Don was the epitome of a life well-lived. He met Carmen, his beloved and patient wife and the catch of his life, in 1951. The kids have many fond memories of them dancing in the kitchen as well as their animated backgammon games. Don’s passion for aviation was contagious and he shared that with his son Shane, who has taken that passion with him into his aerospace career. Fly-fishing was his other passion and he frequented Eleven Mile Canyon and the Green River every chance he got, although often out-fished by his daughter Kelly. Adventures with Jennifer proved to be a bountiful source of slightly exaggerated tales. Above all, he excelled as a husband of 63 years, a father of 3, and a beloved Pappo. He enjoyed Saturday morning cartoons more than the kids and always checked the fireplace for Santa. He went sledding every winter, including this year and walked his dog every day. He was always whistling, singing (replacing words with “dirty ditties”) and hummed to his last day. He spent memorable summers with his family on Manitoulin Island and loved his yearly trips to Lake Powell and Mazatlán. He cherished returning to his Canadian home to visit family, eating Mackey’s fries and telling tall tales of his youth to anyone who would listen.
Don showed everyone he met the importance of living every day while laughing. He made friends with every dog he ever met; and every person. Even after his days with United, he continued to travel, speaking with confidence in languages he did not speak. He brought his love of hockey with him to the United States and experienced the Av’s winning during a game-seven Stanley Cup final, to which he replied, “I can die happy now.” While we will miss him dearly, we know he is catching big fish (finally), playing hockey and sharing jokes with those who we miss. He missed his older brother Dale and was looking forward to seeing him again.
He is survived by his wife Carmen; his children Shane Swift (wife Ginger), Jennifer Hudson (husband Mitch), and Kelly Corey (husband Jim); six grandchildren (Paolo, Sergio, Annabelle, Matt, Taylor, and Sevy); his loving dog, Coco; his extended family in St. Thomas; and many grandpets. Rather than a funeral service, the family will be having an Irish wake, true to his nature, to celebrate his life later in the spring.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: