In Memoriam: Harold W. Swanson


The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announces with great sorrow the death February 15, 1995 of Harold W. Swanson, Cleaning Services Supervisor, at Falmouth Hospital of a heart attack. He was 62.

Hal Swanson was born in Beloit, Wisconsin in 1932 and attended Beloit High School, graduating in 1950. He enrolled at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1954. A year later he joined the U.S. Air Force, serving as a navigator, operations officer, and engineer during the next twenty years. He served several tours of duty in Vietnam and received numerous decorations from both the United States and the Vietnamese Governments. Hal retired from the Air Force in 1976 with the rank of Major and returned to school at Cape Cod Community College and Bridgewater State College, earning a teaching certificate in math and science in 1978. He taught math and science at Falmouth High School for three years. Hal joined Component Manufacturing Services in Pocasset in 1979 as night foreman and tool room supervisor, continuing to serve as a substitute teacher in Falmouth at Falmouth Academy and at Falmouth High School.

Hal joined the Institution staff in 1986 as a security guard working with Ron Craft. During the summer of 1986 he and other security guards assisted the Public Information Office in handling thousands of telephone calls and visitors interested in the Institution’s second expedition to the wreck of the Titanic. In 1991 he was promoted to cleaning services supervisor.

Hal was known for his professional approach in the supervision and management of cleaning services and his commitment and dedication to improving cleaning services at the Institution. Colleagues note his positive attitude, willingness to help and team approach.

Hal is survived by his wife, Havylen (Phares) Swanson, of Falmouth; two sons, Lt. Kevin M. Swanson of Utah and Jeffrey Swanson of West Milford, WV; a daughter, Karen Swanson of Pittsburgh, PA; five stepchildren, Andrew Litchfield of Falmouth, Wayde Litchfield of New York, Austin Stokes of Whately, MA, Justine Gardner-Smith of Falmouth, and Gregory Stokes of Connecticut; and seven grandchildren. He is also survived by his mother, Lois (Mansfield) Swanson, of Florida; and five sisters, Marion McMahon of Beloit, WI, Betty Miller of Naples, FL, Bonnie Peterson of Beloit, WI, Carol Engeretson of Rockford, IL, and Judy Waller of Brooksville, FL.

Graveside services will be held at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 21, 1995 at the National Cemetery in Bourne. Donations in his memory may be made to the American Diabetes Association, Massachusetts Affiliate, 40 Speen Street, Framingham, MA 01701.


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