Mark Swallow, 95, passed away Sunday, August 6, 2017 at his home in Turlock, California.
He was born on June 19. 1922 in Minnesota, the eighth of eleven children born to Reverend James Frances Swallow and Anna Catherine Briney Swallow. His boyhood days were spent in the Bitterroot and Flathead Valleys of Western Montana until moving to California in 1935. After graduating from Gridley Union High in 1940 he was in the dairy business before enlisting in the US Army Veterinary Food Inspection Service. He retired as a Sergeant First Class (E-7) after more than 21 years of honorable service, seven of which were in Guam, Germany and Alaska.
Mark and his wife Elaine moved to Turlock in 1968 where he was employed by the USDA, Meat and Poultry Division for 16 years, retiring in July 1984. Since then he was self employed, working as a gardener and custodian for Richard Bergers a CPA firm on Canal Street, retiring in September 2001 to devote time to his grandchildren, whom he dearly loved.
During the greater part of his lifetime, Mark was active as a Universal Blood Donor, belonging to several five-gallon clubs, the latest being at the Delta Blood Bank in Modesto. His favorite pastime, besides being with his grandchildren, gardening and telling stories was to load his metal detecting equipment into his truck and head for anywhere he thought an old coin or gold ring might be found. Even though he was an avid treasure hunter he never found “that” strongbox filled with coins, or if he did he never told anyone.
In December 1992 Mark began writing “Swallows in Flight” a journal about his family, friends and other characters he had met during his long lifetime. He completed Book I in 1997, Book II in 2004, Book III in 2009 and was writing Book IV on a daily basis.
Mark is survived by his sons: Harry and John, of Gridley, California and Mark Jay Swallow. Daughters: Debra Cleek, of Pollock Pines, Marcy Tavernas, Lesley Bragdon and Jody Carvalho of Turlock. Grandsons: Jaime Cleek, of San Luis Obispo, Mark Joseph Swallow, of Granite Bay, Garrett Bragdon and Landen Borges of Turlock. Granddaughters: Jennifer Swallow, of Granite Bay, Michele Cassullo, of Olivehurst, Sidney and Hannah Bragdon, Paris Tavernas, Allie Borges, of Turlock and Kaylee Casilas, of Texas. He is also survived by his brother Amos, of Willits, California. Sisters: Esther Coverdell, of Big Timber, Montana, Naomi Harris, of Dallas, Oregon, plus numerous nephews and nieces (the latest count being well over 250) and Sisters-in-Law: Elsa “Bibs” Swallow Dayton, of Montana and Mamie Swallow, of Havre, Montana.
Mark was preceded in death by his wife Elaine, daughter Celia Marie Swallow, son Army Specialist E-5 Randy Joseph Swallow and brothers Paul, James, John, Ezra, Aaron and Stephen; and sister Martha Little.
There will be no formal service or visitation. Remembrances may be sent to Mark’s favorite charity, Father Flanagan’s Girls and Boys Home, Boys Town Nebraska, 68010. Family and friends will get together to celebrate his life at a place and date to be determined later.