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In Memory

Vern B. Swanson, 84, retired Animal Sciences professor, died June 15

June 17, 2009

Vern B. Swanson, 84, died June 15, 2009, at his residence.

Mr. Swanson was born February 8, 1925, in Alta, Iowa to John and Thelma Kelso, Swanson. He grew up in Albuquerque, N.M., was a graduate of Albuquerque High School, and earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees from New Mexico State University and a doctorate in animal breeding from Iowa State University.

He was a veteran of the United States Army serving in the China-Burma-India sector during World War II and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal in recognition of service as a pilot in the U. S. Army Air Force. Vern was very pleased to be a participant of the Honor Flight to Washington D.C. in April of 2009.

Animal Sciences prof from 1956-85

He joined the Department of Animal Sciences at Colorado State University in 1956 with primary teaching and research responsibilities in wool technology and sheep production. He retired in 1985 as a full professor in addition to being the Colorado Extension Sheep and Wool Specialist. He served as a judge for sheep and wool shows in the U.S. and developed many practical field trials and educational programs for Colorado producers. His contributions were recognized by the U.S. sheep industry with the Silver Ram Award. Prior to and during his retirement he was a consultant on sheep and wool productions in Brazil, Mali, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Avid Rams football fan

He was an avid football fan of the CSU Rams and the Denver Broncos. He also enjoyed golfing, fishing, and skiing. He was a member of the American Society of Animal Sciences, Hump Pilots Association, Elks Lodge #804, Fort Collins Country Club, and the Northern Colorado Seniors Golf Association.

Survivors include his wife, Virginia Swanson of Fort Collins; a daughter, Susan Wells and her husband, Gordan of Fort Collins; two sons, Vern B. Jr. "Topper" and his wife Robbie of Denver, and John D. and his wife, Sherri of Houston, Texas; six grandchildren, Jono, Meghan, and Joey of Denver and Brooke, Jack, and David of Houston; and two step-grandchildren, Aubrey Baar and her husband Chris of Loveland and their daughter Vivian and Matthew Wells and his wife Stephanie and their son Wesley of Fort Collins. His parents and sister preceded him in death.

Memorial service June 19

A memorial service will be held 10 a.m. Friday, at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 2000 Stover. Rev. Harold Warren will officiate at the services. Memorial contributions may be made to The Community Foundation, C/O Honor Flight Northern Colorado, 711 8th Ave Greeley, CO 80631 and Animal Sciences Wool Judging Team, C/O Colorado State University Foundation, PO Box 1870, Fort Collins CO 80522. Please visit to send an online condolence.