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Thomas "Tom" Swonke '78 March 10, 2020 10:49 AM updated: March 10, 2020 10:55 AM

Thomas Lloyd Swonke
02/02/1951 - 03/05/2020


Thomas Lloyd Swonke, 69, peacefully left to join the heavenly realm on March 5, 2020. He was born February 2, 1951 to Floyd Thomas and Margaret Ann Christianson Swonke in Houston, Texas. He was proud to have been born at the old downtown St. Joseph Infirmary on Groundhog's Day. Tom was baptized in Minnesota and confirmed in 1965 at St. John's Lutheran Church in Deanville, Texas. He always remembered his confirmation Bible verse of John 15:5: "I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me; you can do nothing." Tom graduated from Caldwell High School in 1969 and from Texas A&M University in 1978 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a Minor in Metallurgy. Tom and Donna Gale Namken were united in marriage on March 9, 1974 at Martin Luther Lutheran Church, ELCA, in Giddings. They were blessed with two sons, Shaun and Chase, and two granddaughters, Addison and Hadley.

Tom coached YMCA soccer for 9 years. He was involved with Boy Scouts for 13 years starting in 1989 as a scout leader, including Camp Master at Camp Brosig and Camp Bouvay. He was Scout Master for Troop 939 for 2 years, and assisted both sons as they advanced from Wolf to Eagle. Tom was employed for the aerospace industry at Wyman-Gordon/PCC and performed many jobs for 35 years beginning in August, 1978. He started as a Tool & Die Engineer and retired as a Quality Engineer. Tom (Tommy) had a remarkable memory and a sense of humor that was evident even in illness. He was committed to his sons. After his younger son's quadriplegia from a high school lacrosse game, Tom began making adaptive equipment for outdoor hunting activities for his son and others, even after his son's passing. "Big Daddy" was extremely proud of his granddaughters and greatly enjoyed spending time with them. He involved them whenever he could outdoors and was looking forward to their future.

Tom enjoyed several hobbies which included hunting, fishing, reloading, camping, gardening, cooking, woodworking, and welding. Many bottle trees and flowers he made from tractor implement parts grace backyards. Tom, and beloved son Shaun, spent many hours together including duck hunting with their dogs. He loved making deer and wild hog sausage from game they hunted and processed. Cooking Cajun food was Tom's specialty. Tom fought a valiant battle with brain cancer. He faced his prognosis with courage and in treatment did not want to "leave any stone unturned." He never complained and was kind to those who helped him. He frequently said he was not afraid of death because he knew where he was going, and that he felt closest to the Lord when he was outdoors in nature. Tom said, "The path I have walked in life has been affected by signs and sights, seen and unseen." Tom was preceded in death by his son, Chase Christopher Swonke; parents; and father-in-law, Harry Namken.

Tom is survived by his wife, Donna Gale Swonke of Houston; son, Shaun Swonke and wife Megan of New Waverly; granddaughters, Addison Chase and Hadley Jo Swonke; sister, Cathy Moore and husband Elwood of Lyons; mother-in-law, Janet Namken of Giddings; and sister-in-law Kathie Nitsche and husband Gary of LaGrange. He is also survived by nieces and nephews; Anna Starnes and husband Robert, Amy Moore, Kevin Moore, Kimberly Burdine and husband Zach, and Kaci Paden and husband David; and other dear cousins, relatives, and friends. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be made to Chair Bound Hunters (601 15th St., Wheatland, WY 82201), Messiah Lutheran Church, or the charity of your choice. A celebration of the life of Thomas Lloyd Swonke is planned for March 14th at 2pm at Messiah Lutheran Church, 11522 Telge Road, Cypress, TX 77429.


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