In Loving Memory of Dan Swecker: 1947-2021

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Dan Swecker passed away on Sept. 1, 2021. His family was present when he went to be with Christ in a quiet peaceful exit from this world being held by his wife Debby, of 48 years. 

Dan worked summers at a local airfield in his childhood during the 1960s, helping with firefighting and search-and-rescue operations. After graduating from high school in 1965, he attended the University of Washington. 

As an officer in the U.S. Army, he spent two tours in Vietnam from 1966 to 1969 as a forward-gunship helicopter pilot. Dan was shot down four times, crashed twice with mechanical failure, and was wounded. He received a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star and 25 Air Medals. 

Following his service, he earned an associate’s degree from Tacoma Community College before completing a bachelor of arts degree in cooperative education from The Evergreen State College in 1973. That same year, he married Debby and started Swecker Salmon Farm, the first salmon smolt growing farm in Washington state. He and Debby ran the farm for 20 years. During that time, he was also a volunteer firefighter and fire commissioner. 

Following his years as a fish farmer, Dan served as a lobbyist and senator leading the efforts to streamline the permit process in Washington state. He also served as executive director, treasurer, and secretary with the Washington Fish Growers Association. 

Dan represented the 20th Legislative District for 18 years from 1995 to 2013. He served as the Republican Caucus vice chair from 2007 to 2008 and was assistant majority whip from 1997 to 1998. 

He was a board member and chairman for the Centralia Christian School Board, a school where his children and grandchildren attended. He was also a founding member and chairperson of the Centralia Christian School Foundation. 

Though these accomplishments were admirable, Dan’s priorities were his faith and family. He loved God and his decisions in life were molded after his beliefs, even if they were considered unpopular. Dan was a loving husband, father and grandfather. Some of his happiest moments were at the family home and giving rides to his grandchildren in his UTV. 

He is survived by his loving wife Debby, his four children and their spouses Jenny (Travis), Joel (Amy), Devin, and Amy (Andrew) as well as seven grandchildren Braden, Logan, Madison, Claire, Emma, Audrey, and Noah. He also leaves his mother Clarene, three siblings and a stepmother. 

A memorial service will be held in Dan’s honor on Sept. 17, 2021 at 2 p.m. at Centralia Community Church of God. The service will be live streamed on the church’s website. 

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Centralia Christian School at www. centraliachristianschool.org/ support-ccs/donate-now. cfm.

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